A few weeks ago, Melbourne’s very own drag diva, Leasa Mann, posted on Facebook offering to pay utility bills of persons who are finding it difficult to do so due to the financial setbacks brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.

She never imagined that the innocuous post would spark off a wave of kindness on social media, with friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers joining in to help out those in need.

“I first made the offer to choreographers, costume designers, and wig stylists who would’ve lost their regular clientele, that I’d commission work from them,” Leasa Mann told Star Observer about her original post that looked at ways to help her friends in the entertainment industry.

“Then I (offered to pay) utility bills for anyone struggling due to lack of work or reduced income in the current climate. I was doing this for a few fortnights. Last week, it all sort of blew up and I’ve had people from all over the country offering to help pay bills. It was all so unexpected and quite frankly a little emotionally overwhelming. But it’s wonderful to see the good nature of people in times of crisis,” said Mann.

Lending a helping hand is not new to Mann, who has been an entertainer, MC, and comedian for around two decades, starting out in Cairns and now based in Melbourne. She regularly performs at clubs like Mollie’s Bar and The 86 club. Last December, she put out a call for a GoFundMe campaign to raise donations for the NSW Rural Fire Service.

This time around realising that people might be hesitant to openly ask for help, she asked people to message her privately so that the whole process can be anonymous. “There is no shame in needing help and the world is filled with generous people who want to help…So, if you are struggling or stressing out about finances put your pride aside and let us help,” Mann posted in messages on Facebook.

The past couple of weeks has seen help being made available to 20-25 people and over $2000 worth of bills have been paid. “It’s all been wonderful. We’ve been able to help a whole range of people with their varying needs, from sending Coles/Woolworth vouchers to those who can’t afford to eat, to help with vet bills and even a new battery for someone’s car so they can get to work,” revealed Mann.

Mann wants the movement to inspire others across the country to start a culture of giving in these tough times. “I’m encouraging anyone who is in a position to help to put their own status up (on social media). We’ve all got different audiences on Facebook and we’re all in different parts of the country so by starting one’s own culture of giving you can help and inspire those around you and not just those on my FB friends list,” said Mann.

“Be kind to one another,” is the message that Mann believes would drown out the negativity as people across the world deal with the fall out of the. “We’re all going through this in different ways. But, showing somebody that you care and can help makes the world of difference. Even baking cookies for your neighbour, or buying toilet paper for the elderly couple down the roadshows that you care,” added Mann.

Word, Queen!



© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.