LGBTQ+ History Month: how Covid has impacted the drag community

TO celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we spoke to inspirational drag artist Lucy Phurr from Pallion, Sunderland, on how the pandemic has affected their livelihood, what the LGBTQ+ community means to them and how we can further support them in their career.

LUCY Phurr, 24, has been a drag artist since 2015 and was devastated when the pandemic hit, meaning they were left without work. They said: “I remember watching the government announcements that bars were to close. When I realised that all of my upcoming gigs would be cancelled, I cried my eyes out”.

Before Covid-19, Lucy Phurr worked across the North East, and absolutely loved their job. “I would describe my drag style as campy but variable, I love to cater to all audiences and make sure people have a great night out.”

She continued: “People have missed drag artists. I’ve been lucky enough to be offered online gigs where we can put our PayPal links into, and people can tip us.”

But work isn’t as consistent as it used to be. “A lot of people don’t realise how much drag artists have struggled. I’ve had high moments but also a lot of lows during lockdown. Thankfully, I’ve had the support of my housemate, boyfriend and family to keep me going in more ways than one”.

Speaking of future plans, Lucy said: “This lockdown has allowed not only me, but other artists too, to reflect on their work and practice our craft. This is the time to have a glow-up and come back better than ever”. During the lockdown, Lucy also released their own merchandise, which you can find here.

Community organisation Sunderland Pride continues to support our local LGBTQ+ community. Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have hosted various virtual events across platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.

University of Sunderland’s Students’ Union has a LGBTQ+ community is led by LGBTQ+ Officer Charlotte Feather. They host events and meetings to support their members. Charlotte said: “The University of Sunderland was awarded University of the Year for Social Inclusion 2021 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, and I am so proud to be part of such a diverse and accepting community.”

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