We use the word “lesbian” to embrace and celebrate all possible forms of love and intimacy between people who identify with the female side of the gender spectrum, who have identified as such or have been ascribed a female gender at some point in their lives. We embrace gender as an orbit full of possibilities.
We want to make visible forms of lesbian relating that all too often disappear behind the dominance of cis-male love (both outside and within queer communities). We encourage inclusive and feminist reappropriations of the word “lesbian” and hope to open up a space that allows for these meanings to emerge.
We use the word “trans” to welcome folx who self-identify as trans, inter, gender-nonconforming, non-binary, two-spirit, et al., while understanding that not all inter, GNC, NB, two-spirit, et al. people identify as trans.
We oppose gatekeeping and support the celebration of gender bending in all ways imaginable. By using the word “trans” in a broad and open manner, we want to talk about and fuck around with gender in a way that is not limited by what allo-cis-heteronormative (“allo-” refers to the centralising of sexual and/or romantic attraction over other forms of relating) society and medicalized discourses make of it. Two-spirited, non-binary, gender-nonconforming, inter, trans, et al. people do not need to prove their identities: self-identification is sufficient.
We encourage you to deconstruct current allo-cis-heteronormative notions of gender and sexuality; to tackle the racism, ableism, and fatphobia that are inevitably tangled up with them and allow for more inclusive usages of the term “trans” to develop.
Our name was proposed by Rachel O’Neill, a poet and visual artist based in Aotearoa New Zealand. Like many of us in queer relationships, Rachel and their partners have been misread as relatives, and the name is in honour of their experience and chosen families everywhere.
We want to create a queer-feminist safe(r) space, which means that racism, sexism, biphobia, transphobia, queerphobia, fatphobia, homophobia, butchphobia, sissyphobia, ableisms, ageism, femmephobia, toxic masculinity, misogyny and classism are not welcome here. Visitors to the space are invited to actively reflect upon these structures of oppression.
There will be a team member hosting each evening at Mothers & Daughters. They are there to enjoy themselves and to be a contact person if you need info, help or support. Ask at the bar if you need to know who is hosting. The host will intervene if someone is receiving unwanted attention and will ask people to leave if they are compromising this queer-feminist safe(r) space.
Mothers & Daughters has an open door policy the majority of the time. This means that the space is free to enter no matter how you identify.
On busy evenings, we might have a door person who is there to welcome you, maintain the safety of the event and those inside, and ensure the space does not get too full (we have an obligation to ensure that we can evacuate everybody in the case of an emergency). Sometimes, if the space is getting full, the door person might explain the lesbian° and trans° priority of Mothers & Daughters and ask those waiting to consider if they want to enter, or if they are willing to give the limited space to their trans° and lesbian° friends. We do not ask door people to police anyone’s identity or choose who can and cannot enter based on the appearance of gender, race and/or sexuailty.
Mothers & Daughters sometimes holds events in chosen-mixity. This means that certain events will be open for those in our communities that hold particular identity positions, or an intersection of identity positions. Chosen-mixity can allow people who embody shared forms of oppression, joy and experience to create safe(r) spaces for discussion, solidarity and pleasure. When there is an event in chosen-mixity, this will be announced in advance and there will be a door person at the entrance who will explain the conditions of chosen-mixity. We do not ask door people to police anyone’s identity or choose who can and cannot enter based on the appearance of gender, race and/or sexuailty, but we do ask you for self-reflection, respect and honesty in your self-identification.
Although we do our best to make clear and fair door policies and communicate these to you and those who work at the door, we also acknowledge that the threshold can be a high-pressure, stressful and confusing moment for both those who desire to enter and the people working on the door, and difficult situations can arise. If you have any feedback or experiences you would like to share, please talk to the host and/or reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This bar has a different economy than you may be used to.
There is a documented difference in wages, education, support and economic and social freedoms for many of us due to our race, class, gender and/or sexuality.
At Mothers & Daughters we use a pricing system that tries to address this through using data on the documented gender gap in Belgium.
The overall gender gap in Belgium stands at 21%, which is the difference between the average economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment between female-identified people and male-identified people. It takes into account three types of disadvantages women face:
If you have a privileged position that means your wages, and access to opportunities and documented work are positively affected by your race, class, gender and/or sexuality, then choose menu B.
For the rest of us, because of our race, class, gender and/or sexuality we choose menu A.
oddd (Ot Lemmens)
Gia Abrassart and Isabelle N'diaye
Nathalie Wathelet, Water girls (2018), Forget me not (2018)
Mothers & Daughters would not have been possible without the labour and resources donated by all those who joined the working bees, the talented creatures who provided playlists, the groups and organisations that gave us equipment and furniture, the marvellous folks who cleaned, chased pigeons, built, painted, cooked, chatted, hugged, thought, laughed, lent their tools, talent, time & love. You know who you are!
We are currently working to make Mothers & Daughters accessible for wheelchair users. We will do this with an alternative entrance and an elevator. We will have two emergency exit wheelchairs and our team will be trained to use them. We will announce when this work has been completed on our newsletter, FB and insta!
We have a wheelchair accessible toilet. A quiet room is available, but this room is not wheelchair accessible. The bar space has variable light conditions (lit seating areas and a low-lit exhibition space), and we do not use strobes or laser lights. We have an illuminated toilet sign. There will be occasional use of a smoke machine. We do not have any of our signage in braille. We have hand gel, masks and hand washing facilities available. Our space is large, with an outdoor area on the street, and we ventilate via open windows. We do not have a CO2 monitor or a mask mandate.
Bar staff are available to assist with specific needs on request. A detailed description of the accessibility of the space can be found on this page.
You are very welcome to bring food from home or surrounding restaurants, but please make sure you dispose of any trash.
Here are some places to get food close by:
Pizza: NONA Pizza, Rue Sainte-Catherine 17/19 (€€) Ⓥ
Mothers & Daughters has financial support from equal.brussels, LUSH, Vlaamse Gemeenschap and Communauté-française. Location generously offered by Jane Haesen.
This is not a commercial project—we are committed to keeping the entry to Mothers & Daughters free and open for all, and to offering a much needed safe(r) space and special events without the pressure of making profit. Out of respect for the artists, musicians and activists contributing to the program of Mothers & Daughters, selected events will have the option for participants to give a donation.
In the event that we do make a profit from running Mothers & Daughters, we will use the funds in the following way, in order of priority: