Last year, Silom drag hot spot The Stranger Bar survived a three-month shutdown without any relief or aid. This time, unfortunately, it might not make it.

On Jan 21, one of Bangkok’s best-known and rowdiest drag queen destinations, The Stranger Bar called on all the fans out there for help via a crowdfunding campaign called “Save the House of Drag Queens.”

“The place we can call home that cares about LGBT community with staff and drag artists who make a living and career have been seriously impacted since March,” said Chakgai Jermkwan, the bar’s owner and host who transforms into “M Stranger Fox” on stage. 

Like other nightlife purveyors, Stranger has felt deep pain under the various restrictions which have been in place since March. Unlike others, its clientele consists largely of travelers from abroad. Chakgai regrettably said that if the pandemic continued, which it has, his bar would “go out of business.”

While some of Chakgai’s employees are “informal workers” who are eligible for a B5,000 monthly government stipend, that isn’t nearly enough to get by. The impact has been “devastating,” he said. 

“Without government support and with banks denying us loans, we tried to carry some of the losses to keep the shows alive, and [to have] our talented drag performers employed,” mutters Chakgai. “Unless we get an immediate influx of cash, we will be forced to close permanently.”

Since it was launched yesterday, the donation drive has already raised about B47,000. Contributors who donate B1,000 or more will get drink vouchers of the same value for use at any time in the future–if the bar survives, that is.


This article first appeared on Coconuts Bangkok.