Gingerbeer is a London-based virtual community for lesbian and bisexual women. The name "Gingerbeer" (Cockney rhyming slang for "queer") refers to both the web site, and to the community which it supports. Gingerbeer is one of the largest and most popular social networking services for lesbian and bisexual women in the United Kingdom. It is maintained and moderated entirely by a team of volunteers.

Gingerbeer was initially launched on January 1, 2000,[1] and has undergone two subsequent relaunches, firstly on June 25, 2001, and later on November 11, 2005, following a major redesign. Gingerbeer became an official not-for-profit organisation in March 2004, when it was registered as a limited company by guarantee.[2]

The site's main feature is a highly active messageboards forum, with over 2000 registered members at May 2007. The messageboards receive approximately 10 million hits per month,[3] and in the eighteen months to the end of May 2007, they had logged over 335,000 posts in over 5000 topics or discussion threads.[4] One of the distinctive features of the messageboards is that they support an active calendar of social, cultural and sporting events across the UK, so that Gingerbeer exists as both a web community and a real life community.

Besides the messageboards, Gingerbeer offers listings of bars, clubs and community events, reviews, and a London guide. Gingerbeer has been recommended as a useful, up to date resource for lesbians by a wide range of sources, including universities,[5][6] doctors,[7] lawyers,[8] therapists,[9] local authorities,[10] equality workers [11] and travel journalists.[12] [13]

Research on the needs of black LGB communities was undertaken in 2001 by Galop,[14] a London charity which gives advice and support to LGBT people affected by homophobic hate crimes. The research found that LGBT internet services including Gingerbeer were used by 34% of the respondents, with 79% finding them useful. [15]

Gingerbeer has also been cited as a source of lesbian respondents for research on LGBT issues.[16] [17]


  1. Interview with SuMay Hwang, founder of Gingerbeer, on DimSum, the British Chinese community website
  2. Gingerbeer
  3. Figure provided by a forum administrator.
  4. Gingerbeer message boards- see Forum Statistics
  5. New York University, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Study Abroad Guide
  6. University of California Education Abroad Programme, Life in the UK, p6
  7. Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists 2007
  8. BLAGG (Bar Lesbian and Gay Group) for barristers
  9. Pink Therapy, LGBT Resources
  10. Haringey Council's advice to Somalian and French-speaking lesbians
  11. Schools Out: Working towards equality in education for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people
  12. Damron Women's Traveller 2007, Damron, San Francisco, 2006, ISBN 978-0929435596, page 528
  13. Bay Area Reporter, Vol 37, No 22, London, England: Europe's 'gay' capital, 31 May 2007
  14. GALOP, London's LGBT community safety charity
  15. The low down. Black lesbians, Gay men and Bisexuals talk about their experiences and needs, London, GALOP, 2001, page 25.
  16. Sally Averill LLB (Hons) Barrister at Law, "How can young people be empowered to achieve justice when they experience homophobic crime?"
  17. Kerry Townley, MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice, Loughborough University, Domestic Violence within Lesbian Relationships, page 38

External linksEdit

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LGBT and Queer studies
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