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A Queer Response to Corona Virus

The Corona Virus (or Covid-19) has swept into our lives like an overzealously puritan neighbour, unwanted and uninvited we shut ourselves away and deprive ourselves of precious social partying to avoid its recriminations and grasps.

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

There has never been anything quite like it in my lifetime that has so existed to disrupt our social order so quickly, cruelly, and effectively. The virus succeeding where countless moral crusaders have failed, shepherding queers and queens off their dance floors and back into the bosom of the hetero nuclear family unit.


Drag queens find ourselves starved of what is most crucial to our well being and nutrition, the attention and adoration of a fixated audience. We are now huddled behind screens and cameras, flooding Instagram with bedroom dreams and living room shows, scrambling and begging for any shred of acknowledgement or financial reward. Forcing ourselves into taking up hobbies and crafts as if by learning how to french plait that new lace front three months will suddenly pass in a night. I wonder how we will all survive when it's still the popular kids who get the money, get the shows, get the work. How we redress the toxic drag economy to make this thing workable, then look online and see TV stars begging queer kids to buy a $30 t-shirt in the midst of a crisis and realise some things are never going to change.


Reflecting on trans day of visibility I think of all our siblings forced into the harsh unforgiving visibility of isolation, thrown back into the arms of families and parents who cast them out, returning bearded and breasted, surgically altered, chemically changed, and fiercely defiantly out. And it chills me and breaks me to know that there will be those of us who won't make it, not from Covid, but from how we have to survive Covid and the damage it reeks on our souls.


I think of women who will have spent every day of the week, of every month of the last year making plans to escape violence, and the men in their homes who meet it out and the impossible choice of being killed by a virus, or killed by a partner. 


I think of queer cousins living rough on streets, where social distancing is an impossibility, where distancing becomes another means of simply ignoring their existence and how for decades we were told there was nowhere for them. And of ghosts of people whom died freezing and starving, seeing that we had space all this time but it took a pandemic to stir an ounce of moralism in the hearts of those in power.

 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

 

I think about how it took the city of New York over 5 years to declare AIDS a medical emergency, but saw fit to call this virus one in a matter of weeks. About how everyone wants to discuss how it will wipe out your Nan or Grandad, but keeps your disabled and seropositive friends out of their mouths because old straight people dying still tugs at the heartstrings more than cripples or queers.

I think about populist right wing politics, pushing this as the "Chinese disease" and painting China as a monster that consumes and destroys. Of fortress Europe and its camps of people fleeing trauma and war, forced together in the face of a pandemic because of the same right wing populism.

And I wonder what we will be left with, and who we will be left with. And I want to get angry and let that rage motivate me, but cant see what anger will do when you're surrounded by three rooms and no outside. And for the first time, I feel dizzyingly lost as to what we do.

 

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