Supporting the Queer Service and Entertainment Industries

How to help LGBTQIA workers during COVID-19 pandemic

With COVID-19 impacting everyone and our everyday lives, it’s time to find new ways to support our communities.

Since the city ordered all bars and restaurant dining rooms to close through at least May 1, the service and entertainment industries have been hit particularly hard. These industries, of course, are vital to countless members of the LGBTQIA community, as means of employment, community-building, and entertainment. Now more than ever, the LGBTQIA community needs to band together – from a safe, at-least-six-foot distance apart, of course.

Austin Pride 2018 party at Rain on 4th (Photo by Jana Birchum)

So, we’ve compiled the below list of virtual opportunities to help support local LGBTQIA servers and entertainers while also doing our part to help flatten the curve. This list is by no means exhaustive; Qmmunity will continue to provide info on how y’all can stay informed and supportive during this trying time. If you know of any virtual events, donation/volunteer opportunities, or resources relevant to Austin’s LGBTQIA community, please share at qmmunity@austinchronicle.com.

Streaming Local Performers

The Facebook and Instagram Live game is strong in the drag scene right now. Whether it’s a virtual drag brunch or fundraising events, people are getting creative with bringing their performances online. Below you’ll find a list of upcoming local virtual drag shows, but impromptu shows are happening every day. Reach out to your favorite entertainers to see if they have plans to go live.

The Highland Show: A Digital Variety Show
Fri., March 27, 10pm
Join Highland’s digital showcase featuring the many talents of their staff, including bartenders, security, bar-backs, bussers, and entertainers. There will be comedy, short films, and, of course, some lip syncing. The show helps raise money for club’s staff. Join them on Facebook Live here.

Crush: Quarantine Edition
Fri., March 27, 11pm
Sellers’ weekly Friday night drag show, Crush with host Nadine Hughes, is coming to your living rooms in a whole new way with a prerecorded show. Each entertainer will be able to be tipped via payment service apps. You can find more info on the virtual extravaganza at the Facebook event page here.

The Dark Web: A Live Alternative Drag Event
Sat., March 28, 4pm
Austin’s Oxāṇa Piranha, alongside Alexandra Good and Lana Dahmer, will be performing a cabaret-style set as part of the three-day online drag event (Fri.-Sun., March 27-29, more info here) created by horror-clown queen Asylum featuring performers from all over the country. They’ll be focusing on Austin relief efforts, but you can also tip them some coin, too! Tune in at Piranha’s Facebook.

Anti-Viral Drag Stream
Sun., March 29, 7 & 11pm
Good Lucifer is serving “anti-viral” art performances with BanShee Rose, Pam Dulcé, Chique Fil-Atio, Papi Churro, Caleb De Casper, Quiche Lorraine, and Tasha Starr Reynolds. Join their second pre-recorded stream here.

Supporting Local Bars & Staff

Historically, queer bars and clubs have been safe spaces for the qmmunity. They’re places where folks can find their chosen family and be their unfiltered selves. As bars, clubs, and restaurants have been forced to shut down by COVID-19 precautions, many of their employees have been furloughed until they’re able to reopen their doors to the public. Most of the city’s queer/queer-friendly bars and clubs have since set up GoFundMe campaigns to alleviate the pandemic’s financial impact on their staff (list below). So, if you find yourself in the position to donate, consider hosting a virtual happy hour with you and your crew and donating the price of a few drinks plus tip, or whatever amount you’re comfortable with, in support of these businesses.

Cheer Up Charlies

BT2
Cheer Up Charlies
Coconut Club (Editor’s note: At the time of this post’s publication, Coconut Club’s GoFundMe page was currently being updated. Check their Instagram for the latest info.)
Highland Lounge
The Iron Bear
Oilcan Harry’s
Rain on 4th
Sellers Underground

If you have a favorite bartender that always remembers your drink order (looking at you, Tom, at Sellers!), consider donating directly to them through Venmo or similar payment service apps. You can also find a compiled list of LGBTQIA bar staff at queerantine.me, or check out the Austin Virtual Tip Jar. Of course, you can still support local restaurants via ordering take-out or curbside delivery.

With employers and business owners in mind, Austin’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce has compiled a list of resources to help chamber members stay informed and updated. The chamber is also offering informational webinars. Find more info here.

Checking In on Your LGBTQIA Family

Help doesn’t have to be monetary. Do your part to help flatten the curve and reach out to your best judies virtually and see how they’re doing during this trying time. Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Use those fancy tools on your smartphone and make sure you’re staying in touch with your people, especially visually. Thrillist has compiled a list of free group video chat apps, which you can find here.

Taking Care of Yourself & Other Folks

Last, but never least: Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. There are resources out there to help. For establishments helping service industry folks, see here and here. For Out Youth’s services for LGBTQIA youth, see here, or visit the org’s website for more info. Info on meal services available for students and their parents and caregivers during school closures is available here. Check out a list of resources for music industry members here. CommUnityCare has set up a hotline for uninsured Travis County residents experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and needing guidance, which you can reach at 512/978-8775. A list prepared by City Council Member Greg Casar’s office including citywide resources on health care, food services, housing, transportation, and more may be found here.

ASA now offers free at-home HIV-test kits (Courtesy of AIDS Services of Austin)

AIDS Services of Austin is providing free at-home HIV-testing kits, in addition to still offering free condom deliveries and operating its food bank. More info here.

If you have the time and resources, consider donating or volunteering to local nonprofits supporting our city’s most vulnerable communities. If you would like to help those experiencing homelessness, we’ve compiled a list of local organizations and donations in need. A roundup of donation and volunteer opportunities benefiting local nonprofits during the pandemic is posted here.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Austin LGBTQIA, COVID-19, gay bars, drag

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