In the UK lockdown is easing with Queens, kings and artists beginning to emerge after a year away.
After three lockdowns, how can we as a community treat our local queens better?
Don’t Fucking Touch
When I’m out in drag, I cannot count the amount of times I’ve been groped by a random hettie. Men and women alike post pandemic loved touching or “checking” what’s there – or where it’s gone.
This was always followed with “fuck off” and sometimes a swift boot up the arse. I’m gobby and I’m not scared to fight. But not all queens are the same, especially less experienced artists.
If you find yourself within touching distance of a queen, or anyone, keep your hands to yourself.
Dear Karen, don’t be trying to touch my chest because “I have tits too’.
That goes for the random gayboys and straight girls who find it appropriate to touch because they want a vada at your wig; “it’s okay, I’m a hairdresser”.
I once saw Miss Ann Phetimine throw someone for touching her when she said no, and I know many others who will do the same (follow Bonnie on Instagram).
“I’m gobby and not afraid to fight.”
Buy Their Merch
Think of the amount you spend on a random outfit from Asos, or online because you can or that sale just couldn’t keep you away.
That small amount you’d spend on fast fashion could help a small artist tenfold. Many artists take the time to create art or clothing that is better than big companies who sell 6,000,000 of the same thing.
If you have a local queen that has their own merch, consider grabbing something from them – it’ll probably make their day.
Some of my favourites have merch including;
Don’t take advantage of new queens
If you are a new artist or someone looking for spots performing to build experience, don’t do it for free and certainly not solely for a few free drinks.
The amount of times queens feel strong armed into taking no fee, or a low fee because they know no different is remarkable.
In Manchester, there is a reference to “thirty quid” queens who get paid that amount for a full shift – which is known to happen.
What’s worse, I’m not even a £30 queen as I started getting paid £15 a night for work when I first started working Canal Street.
It doesn’t improve for some better gigs either, I’ve also performed in front of thousands because “it’ll be worth it”… I’m still waiting for the benefit.
Stop Expecting the Unattainable
If you didn’t see the recent Vice article, drag is expensive. Especially Drag Race level of artistry.
Many love what the Race brings, but it’s worth remembering that Ru Paul’s Drag Race is not the cookie cutter – all drag is valid.
The popularity of drag in the mainstream has broadened horizons and heightened expectations for every drag performer.
Many feel they have to go bigger and better to stand out, with show stopping look after show stopping look.
That doesn’t mean that performers and artists don’t do amazing things, it just means you may see some fabulous H&M, sorry RuPaul.
In reality at a grassroots level most drag is still a bodysuit in 100 colours, or 1 single leotard- here’s looking at you, Melancholy 👀.
Listen and Learn
If a drag artist is speaking then you should listen.
Every queen has a different story or tale to tell. Some are funny, some are sad and others are ripped from Alan Carr’s stand up tours.
There is always something to learn that can be beneficial. Hetties can find out about the lives of the queer population, LGB circles can learn how to better protect people of colour, or the trans community.
Just don’t expect to like every story you hear – especially if you’re being called out.
I could go on and on, but quite frankly I don’t want to. So, I’ll leave you with this; buy and pay performers, don’t be a pervert or a dick head and buy merchandise from small artists.
If you love drag you can also find out some of my favourite Manchester queens here!