By Keiran Potter
Though the UK is considered one of the most accepting countries in the world in regard to the LGBTQIA+ community, it is important not to ignore the fact that there is still so much work to do. Until every single queer person feels at home in their own skin we cannot rest.
That’s why I reached out to several Plymouth Queer nightlife personalities, in order to highlight how Pride has no opening hours. The fight goes on long into the night but so does the fun. Here’s an insight into a drag queen’s perspective of Pride in our city.
Virina Flower (@VirinaFlower), 23, grew up in Ukraine, and takes drag inspiration from their relationship with her/his Mother. Virina represents the unifying power that queer arts have. Drag performance in particular invites people from all walks of life, all abilities, all races, all genders, to inhabit the same space. A space where we’re all just people; the way it should always be.
When asked what advice she would give to queer youth in Plymouth, Virina said, “Be you. I know it sounds cheesy but be openly you. The queer scene here is rising and now that I have the residency at OMG Plymouth I feel like I have a responsibility to encourage people to be free and open. We will always have homophobia/transphobia, but you will never live forever.”
The LGBTQIA+ community in Plymouth is accepting of everyone and has room for a diverse group of performers and queer artists; a family that is ever growing. Virina explains that this includes, “Femme queens like Dixie Macarbe, Trans queen/king Casenovah, a lyric writer and cabaret act like Dex Amfetamine, and even some burlesque representation such as Lady Shakira Diamond.” The list does not stop there however. Plymouth is also home to “Beauty gurus like Arabela ( Jonathan), and of course the traditional British cabaret style Mary Hinge, who also happens to be the current mother of the scene”.
Virina adds, “Each day [in Plymouth] I meet more and more people. If they are confused and they don’t know about the community, then I take my time to make sure they feel comfortable speaking about the LGBTQIA+ community and our struggle. Usually the results are positive.”
So, if you’re feeling invisible, need some support and can’t seem to find it, look no further than the rhinestone doors of OMG Plymouth and The Swallow, where people will call you family no matter who you are.
Virina wants to be a voice for the queer community and do what they love full time. She explains that it is important to be visible, as for every queer artist that is being recognised and celebrated, there are hundreds of non-queer artists. She says that the queer youth of this generation deserve representation, and I couldn’t agree more.
I thought it was important to mark the end of Pride Month by emphasising that we need to celebrate ourselves every single day for the rest of our lives, not just for 30 days. We deserve to be heard loud and clear all year round. So, if you’re a young queer person reading this: find your tribe, be seen when you’re ready. You have a safe space wherever you are, if you are surrounded by likeminded people. Now be proud, you are incredible.
Pride in Plymouth is coming up in the next month. This will be a time to celebrate the beautiful queerness of Plymouth. I’m sure Virina and many more amazing people will be there, so why don’t you head up to Plymouth Hoe and say hello? Whether you’re queer or just want to show your support for the community, it’ll be a beautiful day to celebrate.
I’ll let Virina close this article, as she solidifies the importance of Queer art. She says, “Pride to me is a feeling. I try to take pride season as an opportunity to be visible. Maybe one day when I’m walking in town in full drag, a kid or a teen or maybe even an adult will look at me and think, ‘Look at him being himself and happy! Maybe it’s not all that bad.’ Be proud! This is our season and our time!”