Lockdown has impacted many aspects of society, especially social activities that were put on hold indefinitely. While the pandemic can’t be deemed as completely over yet, Denmark’s progress in vaccinating its population has led to both rising Covid cases and restrictions being a tale of the past. 

With restrictions having been lifted since September, all night life has resumed without any limitations. That includes all of the capital’s handful of queer bars and clubs. One of those bars is the Masken in Copenhagen, which has now fully opened its doors to guests again.

The Atmosphere Was Ecstatic

“When we reopened the atmosphere was ecstatic. People were of course excited about getting to party and socialize again but the bar is also a very important part of the community. Masken offers LGBT people a break from their everyday life and allows them to feel safe, which they may not all feel at home,” Mads Nasser, bartender at Masken, told Star Observer.

Masken is one of Copenhagen’s most-visited LGBTQI bars and aims to welcome everyone within the spectrum, compared to other queer bars in the city that cater exclusively to either lesbians or gay men. The wide range of queer people found at Masken is one of the aspects that, in Mads Nasser’s experience, the queer community has especially missed throughout lockdown.

“Both staff and guests visiting Masken are so used to seeing such a diverse crowd of people – some of us every single day. During lockdown this was simply impossible and that had a huge effect on our lives,” he told Star Observer.

Queer Danes’ Health Forgotten During Lockdown

Although Denmark is considered one of the best places in the world to be LGBTQI – exemplified by the country’s recent hosting gig of WorldPride – there has been a lack of focus on queer struggles and health during the pandemic, according to LGBT+ Denmark.

“Statistically speaking, LGBT peoples’ mental health and wellbeing are at a greater risk, with instances of depression and self-harm being disproportionately (high in) the queer community. Throughout lockdown there has not been enough focus on the struggles that LGBT people go through rather than what the straight, nuclear family does,” Mads Hvid, political advisor for LGBT+ Denmark at the time, wrote in an opinion piece in Information.

While bars and clubs do not solve all of the issues that LGBTQI people in Denmark face and have faced during the months of lockdown, Mads Nasser believes that the accessibility to LGBTQI-friendly venues and spaces do in fact have an impact on the quality of life for members of the queer community.

“I believe that the reopening of queer bars and clubs has had a huge influence on LGBT persons. A lot of people in the community don’t have traditional families at home and the community, therefore, becomes their family. For that reason, the reopening has a big influence on their overall wellbeing,” he added.

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