Evelyn Evermoore performs at a chilly November drive-in-drag show benefitting Aurora Pride. It was the only live performance the popular drag queen has given since the onset of the pandemic. PHOTO BY JULIUS GARRIDO/For The Sentinel

There’s only been a few times since the pandemic began full-time drag queen performer Evelyn Evermoore has put on a gown, a wig and a face of make up for a crowd.

The first was for a virtual show when the novel coronavirus first shuttered bars and the drag shows they hosted. 

“I started my own virtual show and I was like, this is not for me,” Evermoore, who performed on average four or five times a week in the before-times. “It’s so much work to, like, get into drag right now and put on this persona of fun, peppy, uplifting, this person that I don’t relate to at this moment. And I also just don’t want to rearrange my entire living room anytime I want to like, bop around.”

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There’s also the physical performance aspect. 

“When you’re performing in drag, if you’re in a venue and the sound is too quiet, you can hear your mouth moving as you’re lip synching, and you can hear your heels clicking off the wall of the building, and it’s just really awkward and intense,” Evermoore said. “And it’s that feeling coupled with the feeling of like, I’m alone in my apartment right now just wriggling on camera. It was just so weird.”

So Evermoore dropped the virtual performance, which for many has been the only option for drag shows since March. In November, Evermoore and a handful of other drag queens performed at a drive-in drag show for Aurora Pride. The weather was near freezing and windy and the only feedback from the crowd came from car horns. 

Still, Evermoore said it was kind of nice to be back on stage. 

“Honestly, shows like that are some of my favorites,” Evermoore said of the event. “It’s just like some weird little thing, like the dressing room being a trailer, which is cool. But we’re used to bar basements and getting our tights soaked in beer.”

Evelyn Evermoore performs at a chilly November drive-in-drag show benefitting Aurora Pride. It was one of the only live performances the popular drag queen has given since the onset of the pandemic. PHOTO BY JULIUS GARRIDO/For The Sentinel

The Tri-County Health Department helped organize the event to make sure the chance of viral spread was as low as possible. It was an important event, Aurora Pride Director Zander Oklar said. LGBTQ communities may feel even more isolated during the pandemic. 

A poll earlier this year by Morning Consult and The Trevor Project, a LGBTQ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization, found that nearly a quarter of LGBTQ youth who responded couldn’t access mental health care because of the pandemic. Nearly three-fourths of respondents said they were experiencing increased loneliness and more than half said they experienced symptoms of anxiety.

About one-third of those respondents said they felt like they couldn’t be themselves at home, a place they were spending a lot more time.

Outside of drag, Evermoore said they’re more introverted, and so it was easy to go a week and a half or so without saying a word aloud. 

Between that and no shows, it left a lot of time for video games. And thinking.

Evermoore said the decision to come out as transgender was prompted by the pandemic.

“For me, it’s something that I’ve questioned for, for years. The first time I got in drag, it was kind of like, this is correct. This is correct me. But I just kind of kept doing drag and got sucked into it, thinking of it as drag and not as being myself. So when I was put in a position where I don’t have to perform for anybody, I can just dress the way I want, I can be who I want to be, I was realizing I was missing drag, but not the audience,” Evermoore said. “It was time for me to be like, you know, life is really short, and I’m going to live it the way that I am most comfortable and most happy. I just did what I knew I wanted to do.”

Much like the pandemic itself, big events in Evermoore’s life have been laced with smaller ones, like moving apartments and trying to be more mindful. 

During pandemic, Evermoore attempted to get rid of their iPhone to curb a social media addiction. But the laundry room requires a phone app, a connection to the internet and a bluetooth connection. A wifi connection doesn’t reach the laundry room, making it impossible to go phoneless.

So now, it’s limiting social media as much as possible. Deleting apps. Keeping busy other ways than scrolling.

Overall, it’s been a year of deeply intentional thinking. Something Evermoore seems to have always had. 

“I think I try to be intentional more than I’m necessarily actively intentional. I try to be good to myself, and I try to be good to others. And I try to try, I guess. So I think being able to have kind of a ground work of intentional ideology has really helped me during this pandemic,” Evermoore  said.

A month and a half ago, Evermoore entered a crisis stabilization unit, “ready to end it.” But medication helped. 

“That was really like an, ‘Alright, I want to continue living. I want to keep doing this,’ turning point and healing moment,” Evermoore said. “I guess I’m able to speak on this after the lowest point for me. I’m kind of now entering into a chapter of my life where I’m like, I do feel zen. Yeah, I cry almost every day. But like, who isn’t right now?

Whatever you’re going through, crisis counselors and professionally trained peer specialists are available to help. Call Colorado Crisis Service’s hotline at 1-844-493-TALK(8255). There is no wrong reason to reach out.

Kara Mason can be reached at kmason@SentinelColorado.com.