The flamboyant, dynamic nightlife of the LGBTQ+ community has simmered down due to the ongoing global health pandemic. Queer culture is known for its extravagant weekly parties, shimmering high-fashioned outfits, with an emphasis on creating safe, strongly-knit communities. Unfortunately, these base factors of queer nightlife breach every social-distancing regulation.
The government-authorized lockdown posed a new challenge for the queer community. LGBTQ+ bars and clubs were forced to pulled down their shutters. With the clubs shut, performers took a virtual turn to stay afloat. Drag artists, who thrive under the spotlight with hundreds of eyes upon them, quickly adapted to performing live on across multiple digital platforms. Draped in elegant couture and masterfully-painted faces, they dance and lip-sync to a now virtual audience. Having cancelled or postponed their summer shows and tours, drag performers now heavily depend on virtual tips via Venmo and PayPal.
Openhouse, an LGBTQ senior housing in San Francisco, hosted their first social distancing drag performance for residents. The open courtyard and balconies became the performers’ stages as queer elders watched them strutting and performing from their apartment rooms.
In India, drag queens are educating people about the LGBTQ+ community through panel discussions of colleges, corporate spheres etc. “I am doing Instagram lives to make the audience understand that we just need to be recognized as people of the society,” says popular Indian artist Maya the Drag Queen.
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For many LGBTQ+ members, these nightclubs are their only escape from our otherwise hetero-normative society. As an alternative, for the social butterflies and lonely hearts, four Toronto-based queer individuals recreated clubbing online, naming this venture Club Quarantine. Broadcasted over Zoom, Club Quarantine has already become a global phenomenon. Charli XCX, Tinashe and Kim Petras have made appearances for hundreds of queer people behind the screen. Even LGBTQ+ people with disabilities now have the opportunity to experience clubbing within the comfort of their homes and meet new people.
Many countries are gradually reopening commercial sectors and easing the lockdown. The guidelines of social distancing will make clubbing a sombre, downsized experience compared to how it was before. Reportedly, many of these niche clubs have already collapsed or are under immense economic strain, including the historic Stonewall Inn in New York, USA. “If Stonewall, the most iconic LGBTQ bar in the world, is facing an uncertain future, then think about everybody else,” said Stacy Lentz, who co-owns the bar.
World Of Wonder production and The Stonewall Gives Back Initiative, announced a live-stream concert to raise funds for LGBTQ+ nightlife industry affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “So many careers are built and sustained by the support of the LGBT nightlife community. It’s our turn and duty to support them during this time of need,” said Golden Globe-nominated songwriter and producer Brett McLaughlin.
The live-stream featured popular queer artists such as Troye Sivan, Todrick Hall, Peppermint, Nina West, Allie X, Betty Who, MUNA, Kim Petras, Cyndi Lauper among others.
As the world continues to adjust to it’s post-pandemic state, queer nightlife continues to be a safe haven, a refuge and an integral part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Featured Image Via Fiesta Plop Facebook