“Well, it might shock you to know that a lot of drag queens are extroverts, so the idea of social distancing and keeping ourselves at home isn’t necessarily great for our mental health,” Melbourne drag queen Leasa Mann tells me.

It’s a mid-week afternoon just over two months since lockdown commenced and our lives were thrown into turmoil. The closure of bars and clubs resulted in a grinding halt to Melbourne’s glittering night-time entertainment, the likes of which Leasa Mann has been a regular fixture of for some time now.

“We are missing our audiences and interacting with crowds. So, to combat that a lot of us have pivoted to the digital area and have started streaming online,” said Leasa.

“It helps bring our shows to people and keep us sane. We are bringing a little sparkle and sequin to people’s lives in lockdown.”

What would our community be without Drag? After all, it is central to our culture and has been heavily featured in our fight for equality over the years, a point Leasa reflects upon.

 “Drag is deeply imbedded in the queer community; it gives people a point of familiarity. Right now, on any night of the week, people can jump online and see their local drag stars still doing bingo, still doing trivia, still swishing about in dresses – albeit in their lounge rooms.”

With so much uncertainty about the current situation, especially about when our bars and clubs will re-open, I was curious to ask Leasa how they thought drag and the queer scene may evolve in this COVID-19 lockdown.

“I think if anything, this time will really help cement a fan base; people remember what others have done for them in situations like this,” she said.

“They will remember those faces that got online and made them smile when times were darkest. I hope this time will help in getting more people out and supporting local drag, instead of just waiting until some Ru Girl comes out on tour.”

Leasa concludes the interviewing by imploring that “When we do get to the other side of this, just be kind to everyone. We don’t know what kind of impacts this will have had on people and their mental health, so we really need to just come out and wipe the slate clean with those around us.”

Follow Leasa on FaceBook.

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