The brains behind San Ġwann’s community centre Klabb Ħawaj has claimed the Nationalist Party chose not to renew his lease of the premises because it was “embarrassed” by a queer event that was organised there.
Shaun James has claimed that the PN was “embarrassed” by a queer event ‘Faux Show’, which took place last December and which was promoted as an event where you could “leave your troubles and your gender at the door”.
He said that as a result, the party decided to backtrack on a previous 15-year contract offer and offer the premises to creative entrepreneur Lorinda Mamo instead.
James recounted how he felt betrayed, angry, and sad and what had been done to him, especially at how “he was treated by the third parties involved”.
“It’s also sad that the Partit Nazzjonalista – San Ġwann worked against me behind my back to pile pressure and support Lorinda Mamo to submit an offer to take the place, which she did.”
“Yes, an influencer who has been through a lot herself, made me think in the beginning that she was on my side, that she had no interest in the place and was supportive of my idea. How wrong was I,” he said.
“It’s a damn shame that the PN decided that from all the events that were organised, from Refugee Week Malta to Nice Things Market to Chewing Productions theatre, to MGRM Malta’s social activities, to the many DJ events, concerts, fashion shows, they deemed that Faux Show Malta was an event that caused embarrassment to the party, and it was not the direction that the party is taking or going for.”
“However it’s OK really, life sometimes is like that. Over time it shows you the true colours of people, and as shitty as it was to be fooled like that, I can now say openly ’embrace the space that you so mentally stressed me out for’.”
“Overall I’ve come to realise why should I stress myself out because of what all these parties put me through. Actually, I’m grateful for this experience because it thought me a lot. It thought me that trust isn’t something one should give away easily. It also thought me how my mental health is more important than any building/space/individual.”
“But most importantly it thought me how these parties will not cloud or ruin my future or Klabb Ħawaj’s future because that spirit and energy that was created can never be broken.”
Klabb Ħawaj had established itself as a cultural community centre in San Ġwann, which also doubled as a co-working space, hosting numerous events throughout the year.
Faux Show Malta, which took place last December, was a “Christmas Burlesque and Drag Extravaganza”.
“Drag performers, dancers, burlesque performers, stand-up comedians and a generous dose of audience participation make for a night of glorious, healthy, debauchery like no other,” the event description event read.
Cover photo: Left: Shaun James closing down Klabb Ħawaj (Photo: Klabb Hawaj – Instagram), Right: Burlesque dancer Bella Stardust performing at Faux Show Malta (Photo: Faux Show Malta – Instagram), Inset: PN leader Bernard Grech
What do you make of Klabb Ħawaj’s claims on the matter?