When I was at Art School in Edinburgh in the early 1980s, there was only one place to be: the Hoochie-Koochie Club. Why? Because it was the only gay nightclub. Straight women liked it because there was an unspoken rule: straights were welcome, but no hitting on the women. Straight men liked it because we were much less likely to get battered in the face there than in any of the regular meat-markets in the city. There was no pressure; you could just chill, dance, have a drink. And although the hetero was low-key, one could still get lucky.
But more than that, it was culturally cool. The gays always had the best music. They were the best-dressed cats in town and if somebody said ‘you’re looking a bit gay today’ you knew you had your fashion statement bang on. It was the era of the New Romantics and everybody was wearing eye-liner and bleaching their hair. Gender signals were profoundly mixed. Straight women wore sports jackets and top hats over jeans and men wore earrings and chiffon. The gay zeitgeist was as hip as it could be.