Long Yang Club (LYC) was founded in the mid 1980’s as a social club for gay Asian and Westerners to integrate at a variety of social events within London. The club quickly established itself on the London scene as a friendly and welcoming social club, organising dinners and parties. In the 1990’s, LYC’s weekly Sunday karaoke and social nights became well known and much loved; its Bank Holiday parties were legendary!
A bit of history first:
Circa 260 BC, according to the Han Feizi, King Anxi of Wei had a lover named Lord Long Yang. One day out fishing together, Long Yang began to weep. When questioned by the King, Long Yang said he saw his own future in how he had treated a fish.
Happy to have the catch at first, Long Yang had thrown it back when he caught a better fish. He wept, “I am also a previously-caught fish! I will also be thrown back!“. To show his fidelity to Long Yang, the king declared, “Anyone who dares to speak of other beauties will be executed along with his entire family”. Thereafter the name ‘Long Yang’ became synonymous with homosexual love.
In the the nineties, society changed: Celebrities began coming out of the closet; positive LGBT representation in TV & movies grew; companies discovered the “pink pound” and courted the gay community; gay rights became a mainstream issue; gay groups grew in size, and in their confidence to be visible.
LYC grew too, with many varied activities. In 1993, Heaven – the legendary night club in the heart of the London gay scene and influential for its music and fashion – became a natural home for LYC; and it’s Sunday night parties attracted crowds of ~600 people. When the gay press reported LYC’s 1994 AGM they noted that LYC had 1,000 full members and 2,000 associated members. The club ran numerous different regular activities, like the annual Mr & Miss LYC beauty pageant which was a major event in London’s LGBT calendar. A global network of LYC groups developed – at its peak there were ~40 LYCs around the world. In 1999, LYC London organised the first international convention of LYC clubs, and in 2005 these became joint with ‘Asians & Friends’, a similar LGBT network in USA. These annual conventions still continue. At the time, LYC London also had various sports groups: tennis, bowling, and badminton. The badminton group began in 1997, and grew rapidly in popularity, hosting an international tournament in 2006, and it continues to thrive. For LYC’s 20th birthday in 2003, the Pink Paper had a 3-page feature on the club, focusing on “the uphill struggle to challenge prejudice”. LYC remained a safe haven where members could be themselves.
LYC had a seat on London Pride’s Minority Ethnic Communities Committee. In 2006 London hosted Euro Pride, in a celebratory atmosphere with an estimated 600,000 attendees, and LYC were there in style with a huge dragon float. By the 35th anniversary of LYC in 2018 only the badminton group remained. At the party to mark the occasion, members were asked to sign a card to the club, producing comments such as “Once part of this family, always part of this family”; “So many wonderful people to bring joy & companionship”. Every organisation has an identity & culture which is in some part the product of its history. We should be very proud of LYC’s unique & wonderful history, which makes us a great badminton club and much more.
Now LYC London is primarily a badminton club. We have a credible league team and our annual tournament is an established part of the badminton calendar within the UK, which is open for any member to participate. We offer free coaching to members, and also organise social events throughout the year for the benefit of our members. It’s a great place to enjoy the company of others in an LGBT+ friendly environment, make new friends, play badminton and share a drink or a meal after playing.
Since April 2016, we have benefited from the sponsorship of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). We are very thankful to the RBKC for their support and look forward to further developing a relationship. So far, the Royal Borough’s sponsorship has allowed us to:
- Secure a regular Sunday 3-6pm slot at KLC
- Reduce our annual membership fee from £12 to £10
- Reduce our weekly court fee from £8 to £6
- Reduce our visitor fee from £10 to £8
- Offer Royal Borough residents a concession fee of £5
- Offer all players aged 50 and over a concession fee of £5
- Offer all players unlimited feather shuttles for their games, irrespective of their level
- Subsidise our July fun tournament