Champions of visibility: LGBTQ performers share how they shine
The LGBTQ+ community shines every day.
For many people in our communities, being out and proud can come from years of having to hide parts of our identities. Our inner confidence can take time to discover, and everyone’s journey through this process is as unique as they are.
Some of the most visible and courageous people in our communities are those who get up and perform. They are the many talented artists and entertainers who bring us happiness and joy. They dance on the stages and sometimes the bars! They play our anthems, captivate our attention and lift our spirits. In many ways, our artists are the cornerstone of celebrating queer culture.
We know that not everyone in our communities always feels seen. It’s why events such as Mardi Gras continue to be valuable reminders of the progress we’ve made and the importance of visibility.
Inspired, by the 2022 Mardi Gras theme (united we shine), we spoke with Australian-based LGBTQ+ performers for their take on shining brightly for our communities and their journey of being comfortable with themselves. We asked:
How do you shine and live your best life?
Here’s what they told us:
“I love to give my passion for music to people as a DJ.”
— Victoria Anthony
“I’m so grateful to be a part of the queer scene, and able to be so close to Oxford Street and beyond. I love to give my passion for music to people as a DJ and when you’re doing what you love you shine bright. I love music, it brings me so much joy! If I am having a bad day, I crank up some of my favourite songs and start dancing, it always makes me feel better!”
“I think if you love what you’re doing you will shine.”
— Tilly Capulet
“Not gonna lie, it’s easier said than done and the life of a creative is full of many ups and downs. Tilly has certainly helped me to live my best life but it’s an ongoing journey. I didn’t start drag until I was in my 30s, which is pretty late in the game. But she is an act of self-love. The art of transformation requires patience, energy, support, commitment and you need to love it to make it happen. I think if you love what you’re doing you will shine. Queer people have been through so much to just exist and get to where we are, and Tilly is my sparkly self-expression, a love letter to anyone queer. She takes up space to say ’yo, we’re here, we’re queer and we’re bloody fab, so sit back and enjoy.”
“Through years of dedication to my mental health I am now able to live my best life…”
— Sexy Galexy
“Through years of dedication to my mental health, I am now able to live my best life, the benefit being I truly and honestly shine from within. When I am in that sweet spot of a creative vortex, all the magic happens and I lose all sense of time. Wearing all the glamour and performing is just the icing on top.”
“I shine by being authentic, by thinking of others and spreading joy.”
— Leasa Mann
“I shine by being authentic, by thinking of others and spreading joy. My favourite sound in the world is other people’s laughter and I’m so grateful to have chosen a career that allows me to induce that noise nightly.”
“I shine by maintaining a positive attitude to anything I am doing.”
— Lada Marks
“I shine by maintaining a positive attitude to anything I am doing. As a performer, I enjoy every stage I perform on, and try to think about how I can make others feel the joy that I do. That’s why I love my work. There’s so many terrible things happening in the world, and I am so incredibly lucky to live here in Australia, where I can be myself and do what I love. When I step on the stage, I want everything I do to be a positive influence, and to remind people of all the good that does exist in the world.”
“My mission every day is to be better than I was yesterday.”
— Skye Paez
“I believe that once you start living your life authentically, that’s when you really start to shine. I try and practice self-love by looking after my mind, body and soul. My mission every day is to be better than I was yesterday. Bringing presence into every moment so I can be aware of all of the wonderful opportunities that life has to offer.”
“I try to live my best life by remembering that time is precious.”
“I try to live my best life by remembering that time is precious. The last two years have been quite shitty, so why would we want to waste any more days? Say ‘yes’ to as much as you can, as every experience creates memories!”
Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.
Asking for help: Support services, workshops and peer groups
The journey to knowing and being comfortable in who you are is different for everyone. If you feel your journey could benefit from some extra support or encouragement, there are LGBTQ-specific services and resources you can access in every state and territory.
Some organisations run workshops for people of different experiences, backgrounds and identities. These are a great way to meet others and provide a confidential and welcoming environment for you to socialise and engage in a shared learning experience. Or if it’s more your scene, check out these LGBTQ sport groups for way to connect while keeping active.
Remember, it’s always OK to ask for help. And if you can, go and support your local LGBTQ+ performers to continue lifting our community spirits.
New South Wales
- Pride Counselling: A counselling service offered by ACON in NSW
- Community Care: ACON’s free and confidential support service for LGBTQ people living in particular circumstances.
- ACON Peer Groups and Workshops: ACON provide services for young gay men, Asian gay men, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Older LGBTI people, LGBTI people who use drugs, people living with HIV, trans & gender diverse people, and intersex people.
- Switchboard Victoria: A community based organisation that provides a peer driven support service for LGBTIQA+ communities, their allies, friends, support workers and families.
- Thorne Harbour Health Counselling: A counselling service operated by Thorne Harbour Health.
- Thorne Harbour Health Peer Workshops: Workshops include topics such as self-esteem, representation, coming out, relationships, community, homophobia, biphobia & transphobia, HIV stigma, and general sexual health.
- Queerspace: An LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing support service established by LGBTIQ+ communities for LGBTIQ+ communities with a focus on relationships, families, parenting and young people.
- Shine South Australia: A list of services and resources for sexually diverse people in South Australia.
- SAMESH: Workshops for guys into guys aged 18-30. Peer support for guys recently diagnosed with HIV, and peer educators for informal chats about chemsex and meth use.
Australian Capital Territory
- Meridian Wellbeing Services: Meridian ACT operates a counselling service that does not require GP referral.
- Meridian: Peer-led groups and a support network for people living with HIV.
- Diversity Hub: An LGBTQ safe space in Kambah, operated by Diversity ACT.
- Working It Out: LGBTQ-specific support for individuals. A separate service also exists for families.
- NTAHC: A Northern Territory based counselling service.
Find more queer and LGBTQ+ community support services in Australia with these ABC Everyday listings, or discover our partner network of HIV and LGBT health organisation across Australia.