Like countless artists and entertainers in the time of COVID-19, many drag performers in London, ON are facing the loss of their income and struggling to pay their bills.

To help combat the loss caused by the cancellations of the events and closures of venues that they rely on, local queens, kings, and entertainers have organized an online fundraiser on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe.

Streaming London’s Own Drag Race

To promote the fundraiser, a number of London drag entertainers will be performing on Instagram, Twitch, and Facebook, from Thursday, March 26 until Saturday, March 28. Some of the participating performers include Lita Von Sleaze, Miss Shaneen, Olive ThisTea, Poison Ivy-Lee, Roxy Rhymes, Galaxy Rose. Shows will feature dancing, lip-synching, storytime, Q&As, make-up demonstrations, and more.

Streaming Queens
Funds raised through Streaming Queens will support local queens, kings, and entertainers. Image by Richard Renaud.

Segments like “Makeup Chat and You Pick What I Wear Q & A” with Poison Ivy-Lee and “Get Ready and Chit Chat” with Roxy Rhymes are an opportunity to get a real-life peek at what it takes these entertainers to transform into some of London’s most glamourous queens and kings.

Working Together

Despite struggling themselves, event organizers decided to work as a team, knowing they are more powerful and more successful when they support each other.

Roxy Rhymes at the 24th Annual London Pride Parade. Photo by Emily Stewart.

Richard Renaud, owner of ProjectBE Events, a company that hosts drag shows throughout southwestern Ontario is a co-organizer of the initiative. His aim is “to help out performers and entertainers who are struggling to make ends meet. For a lot of performers, gigs are their only [source] of income. So myself and Ezra Ginn, a local entertainer in London, wanted to try and do something to support them.”

Supporting Community

Familiar with facing adversity, community is at the core of London’s drag queens and kings’ priorities. London’s drag performers are well-known to participate in fundraisers, public outreach, and education initiatives.

Many of those participating in Streaming Queens regularly contribute to events such as Drag Queen Storytime, Bitchy Drag Queen Bingo, and Drag Talent Shows. They are also staples during London’s annual Pride Festival.

Miss Shaneen, Lita Von Sleaze, Mz. Affra-Tighty, Nicki Nastasia, and Nico Lavender at Drag Queen Storytime at London Public Library during Pride London Festival in 2018. Photo by Laura Thorne.

Local organizations drag performers have supported include Pride London Festival, St. Leonard’s Community Services London and Region, Camp Wendake, ChildReach, Forest City Gallery, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

Streaming Queens

You can catch the performances streaming live online starting today until Saturday evening. Each show is an opportunity for the community to donate to the artists. “By donating it helps them pay for rent, get their next meal, and continue to entertain us all throughout this hard time,” says Renaud.

Those who donate to the GoFundMe campaign will receive a pass providing free entry to a future upcoming What A Drag Show, valid for one year, as well as a signed photo of your preferred entertainer.

Lita Von Sleaze performs at Fanshawe College’s What a Drag show in 2017. Photo by Nick Scott.

If you’re unable to donate, organizers have asked you to lend your support by watching the live streams as well as spreading the word by liking, sharing, and tagging friends on social media. Renaud also encourages you to engage with the entertainers online. “A simple following or like of the entertainer, or like on our page to see when events happen in the future go a long way to support as well.”

More information on how to support the Streaming Queens can be found here.

Cover Photo by Laura Thorne

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