By Charlotte Hingley
Safe spaces are integral to queer communities as both a place of comfort and freedom of expression, a place where you are able to get lost in the ecstacy of the moment and forget about the threat of hate crime.
Minority groups such as the LGBTQIA+ community have founded some of the most exhilarating, intimate and progressive club cultures across the world, with the philosophy of dance music rooted deeply within the desire to free your mind, body and soul - a vision reflected within the dream of equality across gender, sexuality and ethnicity.
Meet Stef de Haan (He/Him, 26) and Nick Edwards (He/Him, 26), a Dutch DJ duo known as Cybersex who are amplifying the important message of safe spaces across Amsterdam by founding the queer party De Reünie.
The event series manifested in the form of art exhibitions and illegal raves during Covid-19, but due to immense popularity and success, the duo have now collaborated with the venue Bret to host their own official parties. “This started as us trying to find a way for everyone to connect again, because obviously it was hard for everyone during these times,” Stef tells me when commenting on the origins of the party. “We felt there was a really big gap for the queer community here in Amsterdam. There wasn’t a safe space for people to dress how they want,” adds Nick.
“We felt there was a really big gap for the queer community here in Amsterdam. There wasn’t a safe space for people to dress how they want”
When entering a De Reünie event, the environment of a successfully created safe space is immediately visible. There is an atmosphere of connectivity amongst an entire community dancing freely to uptempo, techno and speed-house tracks - the feeling of safety resonates with the idea of family. When moving to the space of a venue, it may become more difficult to ensure there are no people that pierce this safety bubble. On this topic, Stef told me: “It was important to have the same house rules we always have, so we made sure they were applied to Bret. We had an awareness team, so if there was any kind of harassment, discrimination or homophobia, the person can be reported, found and thrown out.”
What makes these queer parties all the more unique is the sped up 140+ BPM house tracks that vibrate through them - a sound iconic to the Cybersex brand and trademark of the Amsterdam queer party scene. The cheesy vocals and pounding hi-hats fill the room with an electrifying vibrance that carries the crowd into a utopic dance heaven. The duo recognise the freshness of these rhythms. As Nick comments, “We went to Berlin where we played in house parties, Stef was there and played these really nice house tunes, up tempo at like 148 BPM. We then looked at each other and were like woah, this is something new. This is our sound, and people were dancing really hard.”
Blooming in Amsterdam and destined for international recognition, Cybersex are about to perform at their first overseas booking in Scotland. When asked about their ambitions for the future, sheer passion and devotion to the success imminently shines through as they both tell me: “We want to grow and engage outside of Amsterdam, we want to invest to get bigger and maybe have our own space where we can host parties. We want to put our energies into De Reünie and focus on the international growth of Cybersex.”