RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Cheryl Hole has urged the Government to do more for LGBTQ+ venues amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Many queer spaces have already taken a beating due to lockdown, rising rents and social distancing restrictions, and although Boris Johnson has said clubs will open on June 21 at the earliest, owners of these spaces have said they’re struggling financially and fear they might have to shut for good.
‘I don’t want to get too political but I do think they [queer spaces] are overlooked by the Government,’ Cheryl exclusively told Metro.co.uk. ‘Theatre and queer nightlife are two of the most crucial things to our community that I feel like the Government shouldn’t overlook that.
‘I feel like we should be speaking up and saying, “No you put more money into this, you think about this”.’
She continued: ‘As much as sport is a brilliant thing for bringing money into the country and whatnot, [shrugs], is it doing anything for our community? No.’
As a result of the lack of support for LGBTQ+ venues and the arts industry, many drag performers have been forced to adapt in order to survive.
‘People who were self-employed drag artists and artists as a whole weren’t able to perform and had to think on their feet ad find new ways,’ Cheryl said. ‘A lot of them, my friends especially, had to move back to their parents’ house. It’s made us really think on our feet and just really go, how can we make this work?
‘When the world reopens we’ll have to find a way to renavigate to get back to where we were. It’s going to be tough but if I can help in any way, shape or form, I will do what I can to bring the LGBTQ+ community back together.’
LGBTQ+ venues are places that give people a safe space to not only explore their sexuality, but also just be, and they welcome anyone with open arms.
‘A lot of people go to these venues to find themselves,’ Cheryl told us. ‘Some people go on a journey and they have to explore to find themselves. I remember going to Heaven in London and just seeing people finding themselves and finding their voices.
‘When the world opened up in the summer and the early autumn, it was hard because you couldn’t mix, you couldn’t interact. You had to sit in your bubbles and you had to sit at your tables so people couldn’t get to know each other.
‘The minute that clubs can be as they are, everyone’s going to be in the smoking area just chit-chatting and being gassy little divas. I’m so excited for the kids who have just turned 18 in lockdown who will soon get to experience their first taste of LGBTQ+ nightlife and drag performances.
‘I’m ready to open them with open arms. We’re all in this together and there is light at the end of the tunnel.’
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK airs Thursdays at 7pm on BBC iPlayer.
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