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“It’s been 4 months since we lost our jobs and we’ve had barely any help from the government”, she says.
As published in an O&A PV story earlier this week, while several LGBT+ bars and nightclubs have reopened in the Romantic Zone, entertainment in these venues is restricted as a consequence of the sanitary measures established by the Government against the Covid-19 contingency. As a result, more than 20 drag queen artists have been affected, losing their jobs and their main source of income.
O&A PV had an interview with Daniel Estrada Jimenez, better known as Diva Daniela within the local gay community, who used to work at Blue Chairs as show manager until this past March. Originally from the municipality of Autlán but based in Puerto Vallarta for seven years, Daniel is also known for being the host of the show at the nightclub Paco’s Ranch, where he also performed.
Diva Daniela told us that she lost her job this past March 18, when Puerto Vallarta went under confinement that led most of the local businesses to close. “At first, they told us it would last only 15 days and honestly, we didn’t think it would take longer. In fact, we thought it was nice since we would be able to rest a few weeks. Ten years ago, I experienced the Influenza pandemic and back then, we only closed for one week, I thought this would be a similar scenario.” However, the halt of activities spanned to date.
“We were informed that we would not work in Semana Santa and, a few weeks later, I had to cancel all the shows I had previously sold for Mother’s Day. I had to refund that money.”
Jiménez explains that from that day on, the only financial support they have received from the Government was 5,000 MXN, which they were supposed to get each month, but this did not happen. Today, in order to cover his expenses, he started working part-time at a hotel reception and has ventured into other creative ways to earn money, such as offering online shows, selling food and making raffles of his shows to perform as soon as the pandemic ends.
Diva Daniela mentioned that he is not the only one affected by this situation: “We are more than 20 people dedicated to the drag entertainment industry but there are other people that depend on us, such as the seamstresses who make our costumes, makeup artists, dancers, those who comb our wigs, among others, also depend on us. We are all in a vulnerable situation.”
This is the reason why some days ago they took the streets to manifest their concerns to local authorities and try to get authorization for their shows implementing the proper sanitary measures to avoid spreading Covid-19. “I think that if we are sufficiently separated from the public we can continue working. We are aware that shows have been held in other places in Jalisco, such as Guadalajara and Autlán, and we do not understand why this is,” he says.
After this protest, officials from the H. Ayuntamiento de Puerto Vallarta assured that they will visit each establishment to determine which of them can resume live entertainment but so far there has been no response.