A Luton gay bar plans to host one of the town’s biggest LGBT events this year as it relaunches later in the month.
The California Inn on Chapel Street has been an LGBT venue for ten years and was taken over by new owner Tina Haynes earlier this week.
As part of a major relaunch event, Tina has hired Muslim drag queen Asifa Lahore, drag ‘king’ Adam All and transgender singer Jordan Gray – who featured on BBC’s The Voice – to perform at the pub on Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16.
The entertainment-fuelled event will also showcase the bar’s brand new look.
Tina, 58. said: “This is a celebration of diversity and acceptance as well as a happy ending to the many years of unhappiness I experienced growing up when these things were taboo.
“The fact that three of the biggest names on the UK LGBT scene are supporting us is a testament to the change in attitudes we have now.”
It’s a big move for Tina who is also celebrating 25 years since gender reassignment surgery.
She described the bar, fondly known as ‘The Cali’, as a “dream concept” and plans to put on regular live acts, theme nights and cash competitions aimed at both LGBT and supporters from the wider community.
Asifa Lahore said: “It’s an honour to perform at the launch of the Cali Bar. Luton is a melting pot of multiculturalism and a thriving LGBT community.
“As Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen, it’s a privilege to use my role to entertain, unite and bring together all Luton’s diversity at the Cali Bar.”
Drag king Adam said: “In the last few years, we have faced the loss of several of our most treasured bars and clubs.
“I’m very excited to see how the Cali bar will develop, and it feels like a step in the right direction for LGBT nightlife.”
Jordan Gray added: “I always want to be a part of new things so I’m doubly happy to be a part of this.”
Jordan Gray will perform at the California Inn on Friday, July 15, also featuring a question-and-answer session with new owner Tina Haynes.
Adam All and Asifa Lahore will perform the following night on Saturday, July 16. Doors open at 5pm and both events are free.
For more information see www.cali-bars.co.uk.