A regional Victorian’s guide to supporting local queens this Pride Month, and all year round
10.06.2021

A regional Victorian’s guide to supporting local queens this Pride Month, and all year round

Ballarat Queen LUX. Photo by Lynden Courtney
Words by Chloe Waddell

Happy Pride Month!

We know that regional Victoria has a lot to offer, with a diverse range of sights to see and activities to do. Now that we are out of lockdown and running full speed into Pride Month, what better time is there to explore and support the regional Victorian drag scene?

Being a highly diverse and creative form of gender expression, drag has empowered folks around the world to get in touch with themselves, smash gendered norms, and be part of a supportive and inclusive community. 

One of Ballarat’s local leading ladies, LUX, says that “doing drag has really built me up as a person in so many ways; I’m more confident, I can sew, I can do makeup, I can style wigs and most importantly I can walk in 8-inch platform boots and who wouldn’t wanna know how to do that?”. LUX has embraced the opportunities that have come with doing drag,  being involved in photo shoots, interviews and viral videos, walking the catwalk at fashion shows, designing clothes, and performing around regional Victoria.

When asked what makes the queens of regional Victoria so special, LUX believes it “is the bond that we have with each other and the continuous support we give to one another. As a smaller community we have built a close bond, and with fewer opportunities than that of the queens of Melbourne we all work together a lot and are the first to help each other out and give our support to each other where it’s needed”.

Although there will be those who are not yet on board with the gorgeously expressive nature of drag, it is an important part of many lives, and also provides adored entertainment within local communities. LUX summed up the importance of being a queen, saying “without drag I honestly don’t know who I would be, and I could not be happier that it is a big part of my life”.

Here are a few ways you can experience the local drag happenings around town, and support your local queens.

Piano Bar

Ballarat, Geelong, Colac, Bendigo

(Recurring Events)

For many, Piano Bar will be the first place that springs to mind when you ask where to see some of regional Victoria’s finest leading ladies. With venues in Ballarat, Geelong, Colac, and Bendigo, they have regular drag shows and events which are open to all people to support. 

LUX totes Piano Bar as being among her favourite queer-friendly venues, and says “Piano Bar Ballarat has quickly become my home for performing and going to see all of my sisters perform”. And it truly is not hard to see why. Piano Bar offers an always inclusive atmosphere in a stunningly fun venue, and takes things old school by giving patrons the chance to request their own song at the piano. 

For those looking to get in on the drag scene, in Ballarat and Geelong you can expect to find the aptly named Bitches with Balls every Wednesday night, which is a highly entertaining mid-week bingo session which is guaranteed to make you laugh. If you are searching for a more conventional drag experience (if there even is such a thing), Pitch Please is a drag show running every Sunday night with an always changing line-up of drag queens. 

Sasha Starr also hosts What’s the T? monthly across Geelong, Ballarat, and Bendigo, which gives the trivia-lovers among us the chance to prove their knowledge and senses of humour, while supporting one of our much-loved local queens.

Piano Bar “has quickly become the new queer safe space here and every gig is a standout in its own right”, according to LUX.

You will need to check your closest Piano Bar’s calendar for their times and line-ups, available here.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Piano Bar Geelong (@pianobargeelong)

Keep up with the latest in local news via our website.

The Eastern 

Ballarat

(Recurring Events)

LUX shared this gem with us here at Forte, highlighting that “here in Ballarat we have The Eastern Station Hotel which is a really nice little venue that is extremely queer friendly”. This venue supports a wide range of local performers year-round, but LUX says The Eastern “have started holding their own LGBTQIA+ night once a month called ‘Queer Beers’ which will be having queens very soon”. This new queer event is open to the LGBTQIA+ community, and allies alike, and you can follow up on all the details here, or on Facebook!

Pinot and Picasso

Various Locations

As if drinking wine and painting was not already a brilliant business plan, Pinot and Picasso have gone one step further by adding in a hostess with the mostest! Private functions can be booked at most locations with a drag queen host to escalate the fun. Alternatively, you can attend a scheduled painting session to Paint Your Inner Drag Queen! 

The next drag session is in Ballarat on July 16th , and will feature Alexis Spread.

For more information and to see what’s available near you, visit their website.

Recess Bar + Eats

Geelong

(Recurring Events)

Located centrally in Geelong, Recess is a local staple and is well-known for their great cocktail menu and weekly drag events. Boasting regular free drag shows and DJ entertainment, Fabulous Friday and Saucy Saturday makes Recess Bar a complete one-stop shop for a fun night out! 

For more, check out their Facebook, or website.

 

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A post shared by Recess Bar + Eats (@playatrecess)

Palais Hepburn

Hepburn Springs

(Recurring Events)

If you are in the Hepburn area and are looking for some fabulous energy, look no further than Gaymes Night: A Queer Soiree. This event boasts trivia, cabaret, and bingo, for a queer-friendly night of fun and laughs with local queens and special guests. You can join in on the last Friday of each month, and either just join in on the games, or make a night of it with dinner and a shoe. 

You can find out more here.

One of the best ways to stay up to date with local drag events is by following your favourite queens on social media, as they will often be proudly posting their upcoming gigs for you to see. 

If you are looking for more inspiration on how to support your local queens, LUX has you covered.


“It can be as easy as following them on Instagram, liking their posts, commenting on them, saving them and sharing them, or going to gigs and showing your support by cheering and getting photos with us all. Shows are usually no more than $10-$20, or it’s free to like our photos and show your support in the virtual way. Either way, we appreciate and love anyone who is willing to show us any kind of support no matter how small!”

If you are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and need support, there are services available:

Switchboard offer free and anonymous counselling, resources and referrals. 1800 184 527 (3pm – midnight, 7 days per week).

ZBGC offers online support, Q&A and information regarding sexuality and gender diversity.

If you feel distressed, please contact  Lifeline on 13 11 14. In the case of an emergency, please contact 000.