Drag queens during the pandemic

Words and Images by Aarthy Balaganesh

Cardiff, Wales. 18 January 2021. Drag queen Sophia Gardens (Cody jones) (20) doing a Instagram Live show “Drag Race Run ‘A’ Way”. In the live stream, she talks and discusses opinions on the weekend’s episodes on RuPaul’s Drag Race both the UK and the US edition. She also collobrates with other drag queens and intereact with the viewers who are watching and commenting.

Before the lockdown, Sophia Gardens works in the Golden Cross pub and in Minskys Showbar (until the showbar shutdown in May 2020). Since the pandemic, Sophia has been furloughed. From then she has been hosting her weekly live shows on her Instagram every Monday evening.

Cody jones is a 3rd Year Theatre and Drama student in the University of South Wales. He has been doing drag under the name Sophie Gardens since 2019.

Hundreds of people are tuning into drag performances either Facebook live or Instagram Live since the restrictions forced the LGBT+ bars and clubs to close. The LGBT+ scene in Cardiff have already seen several losses in 2020 with the closure of WOW Bar and Minsky’s Showbar. This means the drag performers have taken matters to their own hands and chose to entertain the public through online live performances.

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