The creative world as a platform for social connection is always something that has really resonated with me. It was this idea that fuelled Drag and Draw (now in its fourth year), a life drawing class with drag performers as models which I run regularly in Street 66, Dublin. As I’ve said before, the artworks created in these classes often pale in comparison to the bonds and friendships nurtured there. Art college or arts events are where I’ve made the majority of my friends, and I wanted to create more opportunities for this to happen for others, especially in the queer world where social opportunities can be limited to clubs or app culture.
There are lots of parallels between the creative world and the queer world. Both are intersectional with other communities and both attract (and hopefully welcome) possible outcasts and non-traditional thinkers. Lots of collaboration and sub-community initiatives exist in both, however so do lots of echo chambers. We often only hang around with other versions of ourselves or engage with stuff we already know we like. As inclusive as Drag and Draw aims to be, it is still limited to people who are interested in drag and interested in drawing. Queer Crushes aims to combat this by highlighting more diverse creativity within the queer community.
Each Queer Crushes event showcases diverse creative, innovative or activist projects created by members of the LGBTQ+ community. This hopefully highlights the equally diverse members within the community. At each event, a small number of people/groups will speak about or perform their work to an audience of their peers. Each participant gets a strict seven minutes to speak/perform. A bit intense I know, but these tight time slots hopefully aim to create a sense of equality among the speakers and topics/performances regardless of any demographic status or art form area of interest - everyone gets the same amount of time. The tight time slots also inspired the ‘crush’ part of the title (intense and short term infatuations/admirations). They also push each speaker to be concise but also open up and be perhaps more vulnerable with the audience which hopefully inspires quick but deep connections.
The first Queer Crushes took place on May 4 in Street 66. The participants for our inaugural event were graphic designer Alan McArthur, podcaster, writer and activist James O’Hagan, illustrator Amy Lauren, Trans activist and poet Ollie Bell, artist, teacher and events woman Aine Macken and folk singer, visual artist and writer Tadhg Ó Ciardha. Hosting the event was the mega glam Miss Taken and Aoife Hendriks acted as our Irish Sign Language interpreter.
The response from participants and audience members was extremely positive which hopefully highlights the need for events like these, ones that don’t focus solely on a specific subsection of the community. I’m already planning the next session for mid-June with a chocolate box of a line-up. If you are interested in supporting and seeing what is being created and initiated within this diverse community, please do come along.
For more information and details on upcoming sessions, please follow @queercrushesireland on Instagram.