Drag artist Connie Bathory is thrilled to be bringing their panache to Elephant Thai restaurant in Nowra for a night filled with "good food, a game of bingo and awesome prizes."
The Drag Dine & Bingo event was organised to celebrate Pride Month and will be held Friday, June 18.
Connie hopes it will become a recurring event in Nowra.
"There is a small drag scene here in the Shoalhaven, we have trivia at the Bottlerocket Bar which happens monthly, but was on hiatus due to COVID," they said.
"We're trying to incorporate more things down this way."
Out of drag, Connie is known as Michael Emmett and is the co-director of the Rainbow Underground - a not-for-profit organisation aiming to promote togetherness, well-being and creative opportunities for queer persons across the Illawarra and South Coast.
Growing up queer in a regional community, Emmett said a lot has progressed in terms of acceptance, but there is still ways to go for queer visibility.
"[Growing up queer] was very very hard back then," they said.
"I know a lot has changed. But there was lots of physical and verbal abuse. Lots and lots of bullying, not just from my peers, but from older people as well.
"It's also very hard because there was no visible cultural queerness in this area. So you weren't able to see people who were different without them also being shunned and discriminated against.
"But a lot has changed. There is a lot more queer youth that you can see getting around and now so they're feeling more comfortable."
Reflecting on what Pride Month means to them, Emmett said it was a time to celebrate individuality, but to also recognise how far we have to go to eliminate discrimination.
"Pride month for me is a month where we get to showcase and celebrate who we are as people and how far we've come," they said.
"But it's also time for us to be able to recognize how far we've yet to go. There's still a lot of discrimination, legislatively and publicly.
"33 per cent of LGBTQI+ identifying people have experienced verbal abuse in the last 12 months, which is still quite a staggering statistic.
"Trans women of color are still being very heavily discriminated against and during this month, we need to be able to showcase how far we've come, but to also not forget we still have got far to go."
Drag Dine and Bingo will be held at Elephant Thai in Nowra on Friday, June 18. The event will kick off at 7pm and tickets can be purchased from events.humanitix.com/drag-dine-and-bingo.
RSVP for the event by Monday, June 14 by messaging Queers Down South on their Facebook or Instagram page.
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