C/O Pixabay

There needs to be more awareness surrounding athlete mental health 

As we near the date on which the latest COVID-19 measures will be lifted, Ontario University Athletics has officially announced a resumption of their sport competitions and there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for many student athletes. However, there are many other ways in which the sports dynamic at universities may affect their mental health and their general wellbeing.  

The recent spike in Omicron cases around Ontario prompted a lockdown that negatively affected many student athletes around the university. Not only did individuals have their pre-season heavily affected by the lockdowns but the amateur label placed on OUA also meant that teams that were supposed to have their season continue after the new year were required to wait for an additional few weeks. 

The Marauders basketball teams are prime examples of students who suffered due to the measures implemented. Thomas Matsell, a player on the men’s basketball team, mentioned in a previous article that the forced pause was both frustrating and stressful. This sentiment is shared by many athletes who had to pause their activities. With that said, how much of an impact has all this had on their mental health? 

In a recent study published by Sport Aide, the most common psychological problems that student athletes will suffer include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, attention deficit disorders, problems related to the use of illicit substances and psychological changes following a concussion. Many of the mental health concerns already faced by student athletes were only exacerbated by the recent obstacles they faced in playing their sport.  

Marauders on the women’s tennis team, including Jovana Paramentic, explained the various ways in which the recent measures exacerbated or caused negative mental health among players. Beyond the recent COVID-19 measures, athletes who play seasonal sports have the additional burden of ensuring they take care of their health during both on and off season.  

“There are many things that can affect our mental health. They can be lockdowns, rejection or something else like missing out on the sporting action that you got used to. For seasonal players [like the tennis team], it is essential that we take care of our mental health throughout. When our season ends, we do lack that play time and I personally would miss being with the team and playing together,” said Paramentic. 

“There are many things that can affect our mental health. They can be lockdowns, rejection or something else like missing out on the sporting action that you got used to. For seasonal players [like the tennis team], it is essential that we take care of our mental health throughout."

Jovana Paramentic, Tennis Team

Given the various ways in which student athletes have faced unique mental health challenges due to the recent COVID-19 measures, it is important that awareness surrounding athlete mental health increases. Only through greater awareness can solutions be developed.  

“I feel as if there needs to be more awareness raised with regards to the current mental health issues athletes at universities feel on a daily basis. Although there have been some prompts made before at McMaster, I think that it's more important now than ever. When there’s so much uncertainty regarding whether we will get to play at all or not, it creates a sort of anxiety among us that you just can't let go of easily,” said Paramentic.  

The pandemic had a significant effect on athletes’ mental health, from the cancelled 2020 season to all the delays that occurred in 2021.  

“There are many reasons why an athlete's mental health may be affected, however I feel that lately, the pandemic definitely had the highest toll on athletes, especially those which are in university. Although I can’t speak objectively, I feel that generally, the weird schedule and the ever-changing outcomes of lockdowns can confuse us and this is something that can lead us to struggle mentally,” said Paramentic. 

Paramentic hopes, that in the future, McMaster can offer broader services to student athletes who are struggling with their mental stability.  

“I would certainly like to see more action being done by the university in minimizing the struggles that athletes experience. Maybe setting up a more accessible counseling initiative for athletes would be useful, or anything similar,” said Paramentic. 

Although OUA will resume their activities in early February, about a month after they were halted, there is still so much uncertainty regarding whether such pauses will occur again in the future. The mental health of student athletes will, without a doubt, always be vulnerable to such decisions as nobody knows exactly when the pandemic will come to a close. 

Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator

In just a couple of days, restrictions will be loosened, and university sports will resume

On Jan. 20, it was announced that Ontario would be reverting its lockdown policy that was meant to last until Jan. 27. This means that as of Jan. 31, gyms, restaurants and other amenities will be allowed to reopen. In addition to this, the Ontario University Athletics got the green lights to continue its competitions from that date onwards.  

The OUA expressed their disappointment many times with the decision from the Ontario government, deeming the OUA to be non-elite. This decision forced the organization to halt all activities due to their classification as amateur and not elite sport. Immediately, many of the athletes competing in university sports cited their anger with the decision, with the McMaster Olympic alum, Jesse Lumsden, calling the verdict a “joke.” 

Now that a date is set for the return of athletes to campus and their sporting activities, what does it exactly mean to them? 

Francesco Fortino, a member of the men’s wrestling team at McMaster, expressed his happiness with the OUA finally bound to resume.  

“It’s pretty exciting to have some positive news relating to [the OUA]. We had a very solid first semester of training and the team has built a very solid foundation. Personally, I am very excited not only to wrestle, but to witness my teammates perform to the best of their abilities. The whole team is looking forward to coming back,” said Fortino. 

“It’s pretty exciting to have some positive news relating to [the OUA]. We had a very solid first semester of training and the team has built a very solid foundation. Personally, I am very excited not only to wrestle, but to witness my teammates perform to the best of their abilities. The whole team is looking forward to coming back."

Francesco Fortino, Wrestling Team

The lockdown has also had an impact on Fortino’s preparations for the rest of the season.  

“I’d be lying if I said the lockdowns have been easy. However, the lockdowns are just another obstacle that we must deal with. This sport is full of adversity and unpredictability. Preparing has been adjusted slightly, but the grind has continued like always,” said Fortino. 

Although there was no activity from any team during the past month, it is important to note that the McMaster wrestling team has been outstanding this season and has been ranked in the top five teams in Canada. Like others on the team, Fortino is excited to start competing again. 

“Words cannot describe how excited I am to be given another opportunity to compete. There are so many people involved in getting a successful season together. One step at a time, we are ready to move forward and perform at our best in the coming competitions,” said Fortino. 

For now, the expected commencement date for the OUA championships is Feb 9. Although it is unknown whether fans will be allowed back in the stands, it is no secret that the lockdown lift has relieved many student athletes. Not only will students be returning to campus, but they will also be making a satisfying and exciting return to sports. 

C/O The Canadian Press

How lockdown conditions affect indoor sports athletes  

After it was announced that Ontario University Athletics sports will be put on pause until at least Jan. 27 due to a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, many athletes and others involved in these sports were understandably upset. This decision not only meant that they wouldn't be able to compete, but also that their preparations for the seasons ahead were also halted due to gyms and other amenities being forced to close.  

In particular, the indoor sports were hit the worst. Volleyball and basketball had their seasons immediately postponed, which created a major interference. In particular, the men’s volleyball team dreaded the break the most, as they had won all their games throughout the season and still had the second half to go.  

All four of McMaster’s volleyball and basketball teams had found significant success going into the break, amassing a total combined record of 18 to four.  

The men’s basketball team had won five and lost only one of their OUA games, whilst going into the new year on a five win streak. Thomas Mastell, a second-year varsity basketball athlete expressed his disappointment with the season being postponed halfway through.  

“Honestly, it’s just really disappointing at this point. The whole team has worked so hard this season to do well in the championship and to have it all halted all of a sudden really was stressful,” said Matsell.  

“Honestly, it’s just really disappointing at this point. The whole team has worked so hard this season to do well in the championship and to have it all halted all of a sudden really was stressful,”

Thomas Mastell, Varsity Basketball Athlete

When asked about how he feels about OUA being labeled as an amateur league by the Ontario government, Matsell defended the organization and described how this decision does not consider the diligence and care invested into varsity athletics.  

“I feel that we’ve all been diligent in following all the COVID protocols so far this season. We have had a clean record throughout. Furthermore, to find out that the real reason why we cannot play anymore is due to not being “elite” makes me feel as if all our hard work so far wasn’t appreciated by the government,” said Matsell.  

Although the OUA is meant to resume its games on Jan. 27, there have been rumors circulating that the lockdown may be extended for even longer. What effect will this have on the players moving forward? We will have to wait to find out.  

Travis Nguyen/Photo Editor

How the newly imposed restrictions have negatively affected university athletes.

As athletes begin to return after three weeks off for the winter break, they will quickly have to adjust, as the Ontario University Athletics have seen major changes. As of Dec. 17, the OUA has halted all university sports amid the Omicron variant resurgence. 

After the tightened restrictions were imposed on Jan. 3 by the Ford Government, all amateur leagues during this lockdown stage must halt all activities until Jan. 27. Additionally, the OUA has been labelled an amateur league, rather than an elite sports league, which sparked a large wave of reactions from the association and its athletes. 

“The notion that the hard-working student-athletes who have long strived toward the goal of competing at the post-secondary level and proudly representing one of the OUA’s 20 member institutions in the sport they love aren’t considered elite by the Government of Ontario is a disservice to the dedication, commitment and talent that they continue to show on a day-to-day basis,” explained the OUA in their recent statement regarding the decision. 

“The notion that the hard-working student-athletes who have long strived toward the goal of competing at the post-secondary level and proudly representing one of the OUA’s 20 member institutions in the sport they love aren’t considered elite by the Government of Ontario is a disservice to the dedication, commitment and talent that they continue to show on a day-to-day basis.”

Recent statement by the OUA

The OUA strongly stands behind their statement, labelling themselves as elite, and explaining this amatuer label does not do them justice. The sports association has not been the only one that voiced their concerns. McMaster students who may be following any of the Marauders athletes are extremely likely to have seen several postings regarding the decision, as athletes from all sports have united to make their message loud and clear.

So far there has been no word on whether a formal appeal will be placed by the sports league to change the type of league that they’re being labelled as. Additionally, this “amateur league” pause is scheduled to last until at least Jan. 27, which currently interferes with hockey, basketball and volleyball schedules that were meant to take place this month

Although the main focus of the lockdowns is currently on the OUA league, there are other concerns that individuals will have moving forwards and the effects that they could have on all parties involved. 

What does this mean for all the athletes that were scheduled to have their games? What does this mean for all athletes in general? Will their training and season preparation routines change due to the restrictions?

While none of those questions have a concrete answer that could be provided, it is clear that it will not be easy to prepare for games as it was at the beginning of the school year, when the province was not under any tight restrictions due to COVID-19. The road ahead features a lot of uncertainty.

With the province backtracking to step 2 of the lockdown measures, amenities such as gyms and pools are closing effective Jan. 5. Although the restrictions are meant to last only three weeks to combat the rise in cases of COVID-19, it is uncertain whether this period will be extended beyond that.

For athletes around Ontario, the closure of their main preparatory amenities will most definitely hinder their performances and readiness for the new season in some way. For indoor sports such as volleyball and basketball, whose season is still in progress, the lockdowns could also affect the actual game results for the rest of the season. 

Currently the mens and womens basketball teams have had four of their games postponed in the January period, against Waterloo Warriors and Windsor Lancers. 

As for the mens and womens volleyball team, two of their games have been postponed so far  against Windsor Lancers and Brock Badgers. Not only have two of these games been postponed, but the men's team had their highly anticipated exhibition game against the Long Beach State University cancelled as well.

With so much uncertainty for university athletes heading into Ontario's third lockdown, only time will tell what will happen to university sports from February onwards.

C/O Mark Sanchez

The pandemic will come to an end, but only with fair and meaningful restrictions

Cloth masks won’t cut it anymore, so you must purchase medical masks. No, not those, the expensive ones that are out of stock. If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, isolate yourself from family and friends for a minimum of ten days. You should definitely be back to work in five though. 

We will start to limit PCR testing, so instead, use rapid-antigen testing kits. Good luck finding those, but if you do, don’t use them because they’re not accurate. You need PCR. But wait, they have great news! Elite sports are allowed to run. Not the largest university athletics organization in Ontario though, they said elite. 

As hard as it may be to believe right now, all pandemics do eventually come to an end, though the fate of this one is clouded by the rising Omicron variant. Just as many started to regain hope for returning to a pandemic-free lifestyle, the Ford government placed further restrictions in Ontario in response to Omicron on Jan. 6, 2022. 

These changes included a halt to indoor dining, gyms, movie theatres and further capacity limits for essential and non-essential businesses. 

The execution of these changes, however, left many confused with questions about how this will aid in efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, with just one thought at the forefront of thousands of minds: make it make sense. 

How exactly does this response fit into the potential end of the COVID-19 pandemic? First, it’s important to note that this alleged “end” cannot be abrupt, but one so gradual that COVID-19 will become something that the world simply has to learn to coexist with. 

This may sound frightening at first, but recall that the human race has been doing this for centuries with viruses such as influenza and measles. 

After establishing that COVID-19 isn’t going away, governments must set clear and realistic goals of how life is expected to be like upon endgame and take measures that directly result in said goals. At some point, the World Health Organization would declare when the pandemic is officially over, after measuring each country’s success in controlling case counts, or hospitalizations and deaths at the very least. 

This would mark the endemic, or a post-pandemic state many would call the “new normal”. The endemic would mean reaching a somewhat steady-state of manageable cases, but how many is not exactly a scientific question, but a social one. 

Omicron has proven to be an ultra-contagious variant so different as a result of mutations that it has managed to evade detection by immune defences gathered through previous infections and even vaccines.

That being said, Omicron essentially marks the beginning of when the virus will eventually max out in its ability to drastically mutate and make large evolutionary jumps. 

New variants would still arise every so often again, much like the flu, but booster vaccines that are better catered to new mutants will also continue to evolve, as will the human immune system. 

Additional measures and meaningful restrictions can effectively reduce hospitalizations caused by Omicron and give the general population a chance to boost their vaccinations. After all, it’s easy to point out that a major barrier preventing the COVID-19 pandemic from evolving into a flu-like endemic is hospitalizations and deaths. 

With over 100,000 active cases in the province, this is more important now than ever. 

Despite this, the request still seems to remain: make it make sense. As long as healthcare pursues a capitalist model, anything experts will say may be perceived as persuasion and manipulation rather than facts that fuel an effort to safeguard the public. 

Living in low-income areas where healthcare may not be accessible is conducive to (valid) feelings of confusion and neglect. 

Naturally, the first community that government officials turn to for information and guidance is the scientific one. Where most governments fall short is listening to research done by the social science and humanities community. 

Time and time again, social scientists have identified how public health communication can impact the way people respond and act. Especially since this crisis so heavily relies on behavioural changes on a massive scale, social science can be used to align human behaviour with scientific recommendations. 

The public continues to announce their frustration on further restrictions and lockdown measures that don’t seem to offer any slivers of hope. Some have even drawn comparisons between COVID-19 and suicide death rates, implying the importance of one over the other. 

However, ranking equally important issues and insinuating the dismissal of one will not solve nor validate the other. 

So how exactly can the government induce restrictions that appease the general public? It’s impossible. What’s completely plausible though, is alleviating mass confusions that accompany tighter regulations. 

Lockdowns and public health measures will continue to seem like a performance act to the public unless they’re joined by measures that rebuild the damages inflicted by for-profit agendas on our healthcare system. It may be the key to reaching the endgame before running out of greek alphabet letters. 

Students volunteering on the frontlines speak on their experiences during these difficult days

This article is a part of the Sil Time Capsule, a series that reflects on 2020 with the aim to draw attention to the ways in which it has affected our community as well as the wider world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been at the forefront for much of this year, even before it was officially declared as such in early March. It has affected every one of us in some way and has rightly dominated our news headlines. The pervasive nature of the pandemic has also drawn our attention to the indispensable but often unrecognized work of those who have been on the frontlines of this crisis.

Hospital staff are, of course, among this group, having been involved with the pandemic since the beginning. However, the crisis has drawn attention to essential work done by not just the nurses and physicians, but also the administrators, janitors, paramedics, screeners, security workers, social workers and x-ray technicians among many others.

The pandemic has also drawn attention to the essential services and workers beyond the hospital, including construction workers, firefighters, gas station and grocery store clerks, long-term care home workers, social services workers, teachers, transit operators, truck drivers and utility services workers. This list does not even begin to scratch the surface of how many frontline workers still go to their job each and every day in order to make our lives easier.

Prior to the pandemic, arguably many people took these services for granted and those working in these industries received little recognition for their work. Now, these individuals are at the forefront of the crisis, keeping our communities going during these difficult days. It has never been more apparent just how essential they are.

Before the pandemic, many students already occupied jobs that are now considered essential. In 2007, 61% of working full-time students were employed in the retail and foodservice industries. Heading into the pandemic, individuals aged 15 to 24 were more likely than other age groups to hold jobs in industries hit hard by the pandemic, such as accommodation and foodservice.

Fourth-year student Alyssa Taylor has been working at her café job for 2 years. When the pandemic hit, she continued to work.

“Working during the pandemic has been a strange time. Every shift I came into, especially near the beginning, there were new rules and protocols that were never really explained thoroughly. Everyone really got thrown into it and we had to figure things out for ourselves, much like the rest of the world during this time and it was difficult. Although there were many challenges, it was good for me personally because I began to get more hours, responsibility and seniority at work,” said Taylor.

"Every shift I came into, especially near the beginning, there were new rules and protocols that were never really explained thoroughly. Everyone really got thrown into it and we had to figure things out for ourselves, much like the rest of the world during this time and it was difficult," said fourth-year student Alyssa Taylor.

Many other students were prompted to help out in any way they could. Senior nursing students have continued to do clinical placements and many have also worked with community organizations in Hamilton on an initiative to provide homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness with necessary personal protective equipment, such as masks.

Students have been involved in a number of other capacities as well. Some students have decided to make masks and other PPE for healthcare workers. Others volunteered in food services and healthcare settings. Shalom Joseph and Emma Timewell were among these students volunteering on the frontlines.

“We were like: “we need to do something, we need a job, we need to keep ourselves occupied” and then we noticed a lot of other students are doing the same thing. They were doing their thesis or they were just taking a semester off and they were working at the hospital. [There were also] a lot of [University of Toronto and Ryerson University] students, like nursing students even just generally working [at hospitals], giving their time back. And it was really nice to see that,” said Joseph.

Joseph volunteered as a COVID screener at a Toronto hospital emergency room. He was one of the first points of contact for patients arriving at the hospital and would ask them what has now become standard questions regarding symptoms and travel history.

Joseph volunteered as a COVID screener at a Toronto hospital emergency room. He was one of the first points of contact for patients arriving at the hospital and would ask them what has now become standard questions regarding symptoms and travel history.

Joseph felt that it was important to give back to his community which had supported him during his own difficult days. However, watching the pandemic unfold in this way has been extremely difficult and emotionally draining work.

“It's a role that's mentally daunting . . . it's really hard to stop thinking about the occurrences of an ER and the events of an ER when you don’t want to. You process these events and memories later on when you're ready to process them and that's not something that everybody understands. Not everybody understands that when you work a job in the hospital, or even anywhere that could have that sort of effect on you, that you need some time afterwards to relax and to form a community while doing that — it's very difficult because you have to focus on one thing at a time,” explained Joseph.

"Not everybody understands that when you work a job in the hospital, or even anywhere that could have that sort of effect on you, that you need some time afterwards to relax and to form a community while doing that — it's very difficult because you have to focus on one thing at a time,” explained Joseph.

Additionally, Joseph mentioned that while he is grateful that he is able to do this for his community, he has found that it has made it more difficult for him to connect with other parts of his community, such as friends from McMaster. In part, because he has spent so much time on the frontlines, Joseph is well acquainted with the risks of coronavirus and has been very strict with regard to following social distancing guidelines and other pandemic protocols. However, this is something that many of his friends did not understand or agree with.

“So me and my friend groups [have not been] as close as we were. Some people in my life did take offence to that. They did say, “oh, you're being too worried about it" or, "you're taking it too far, we haven't seen each other in six months”,” said Joseph.

Timewell was on exchange in the United Kingdom when the pandemic was declared and chose to remain there rather than return to Canada. Over the summer months, she volunteered with a local food delivery program, packaging groceries and delivering them to members of the community who were self-isolating.

Timewell was on exchange in the United Kingdom when the pandemic was declared and chose to remain there rather than return to Canada. Over the summer months, she volunteered with a local food delivery program, packaging groceries and delivering them to members of the community who were self-isolating.

Though it was often difficult and demanding work, both mentally and physically, Timewell felt that her volunteer work had not only given her something to do during the lockdown but also, as someone new to the community, it gave her the opportunity to connect with people.

“Especially during the heart of the first lockdown, it really helped me feel a part of a community that I didn't even live in before the pandemic started. Because we're doing all these deliveries and stuff, I got to know the actual physical location really well. I've been to every square inch of this borough that I never lived in before and then also, I got to know a lot of people that I would never have met and not just young people [either]. There were a lot of people who had lost their jobs and so they were volunteering because they couldn't find a job at the time, or [people] who were retired who would come and talk. Or even on our deliveries, we got to have short conversations [with people in the community],” said Timewell.

Connections and community are so important during trying times and in many ways, frontline workers have been a rallying point for communities. People have come together to support these essential services workers, offering their help in a variety of ways from childcare to therapy.

Additionally, as Timewell mentioned, volunteering or working in these services can facilitate the formation of new connections, especially for students who are not able to connect with their usual community in the same way.

“I think it's been really difficult not being able to be on campus. I think it takes away a lot of the community . . . I think [volunteering] can be a great opportunity for a lot of people to have a little bit of social interaction at a time that isn't really built for that,” added Timewell.

“I think it's been really difficult not being able to be on campus. I think it takes away a lot of the community . . . I think [volunteering] can be a great opportunity for a lot of people to have a little bit of social interaction at a time that isn't really built for that,” added Timewell.

As we move forward into the winter months, our frontline workers are going to be increasingly more important and it is imperative that we continue to support them and each other now, but also after this crisis has passed.

Hamilton-based drag queen reveals the impact of the pandemic on drag shows and how she has kept her artistry alive

When the series of lockdowns began in Ontario last fall and all public gatherings were put on halt, live performers, including drag queens, were faced with the challenge of keeping the art and community alive from home. However, despite months of stay-at-home orders and cancelled shows, drag queens of Hamilton have proven their resilience and unfaltering devotion to their craft by employing creative digital ways of connecting with their audience. 

Like many of us, Karma Kameleon, a Hamilton-based drag queen, didn’t initially know what to do with all the extra time or how to stay connected with her community. Kameleon started performing three years ago and was about to launch her full-time career in drag when the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard in March of last year, cancelling her shows in 10 cities across Ontario. It was devastating to have her long-awaited goal interrupted so suddenly without warning.

To cope with the loss of a physical stage, Kameleon and other drag queens turned to digital content creation. At first, most people remained hopeful that this would be a short-term solution and that live, in-person shows would be back on soon. However, as time went on and reliance on digital platforms became heavier and more important, more queens got creative with their online performances and experimented with various platforms, starting with livestreams. 

One of the most memorable livestreams Kameleon did was for St. Patrick’s Day because everyone was still inexperienced in the digital drag era. It was filmed from her decorated basement and although she described it as a “disaster”, it was supported by a great audience. Besides the learning curve of online content creation, Kameleon said the biggest obstacle has been copyright infringements. As livestreams became more popular among drag queens, copyrights forced their videos to get taken down or blocked, pressuring them to get even more innovative with the types of content and move onto other digital outlets such as music videos, Instagram and TikTok.

Kameleon also took on a challenge to improve her makeup and sewing skills during the months in lockdown. She was more known for her comedy and stage performances than her looks. Having extra time for personal skill growth made her more proud, more confident and happier with her artistry.

Despite building a successful online presence during the pandemic and maintaining the art of drag digitally, Kameleon said ultimately, nothing could compensate for the lost experiences of in-house shows.  

“I’ve tried every avenue of digital drag and at some point, it just kind of stagnates. I’m glad to have any amount of a platform or any amount of an audience, but after a while I just missed the instant gratification of saying something stupid and someone laughing,” Kameleon said.

Kameleon desperately missed the experiences of being swept up by the atmosphere of a crowd, fighting with seven other drag queens for a mirror and being able to develop a higher level of human connection through real, in-person interactions. Every moment of normalcy she got back during the gaps between lockdowns made her realize how much she missed every aspect of performing live and a greater appreciation for the community of continuous supporters. When Ontario announced its reopening plans, she was beyond grateful to have in-person shows started up again. 

Her favourite part about live performances is when only one or two people are paying attention to her song in the beginning but by the end, watching more and more people begin to put down their phones and get captivated by her eccentric performance. That’s the kind of human connection that she longed for the most.

Kemeleon’s first return to live shows was on June 18 at Absinthe Hamilton with the House of Adam and Steve. Her biggest worry during the pandemic was whether she would still have an audience when she could have live shows again. 

But to her surprise, the response was overwhelming. The patio reached full capacity and a long line up crowded the streets. 

“[During the pandemic], you could have an audience, but you couldn’t necessarily charge a price for there to be audience . . . But as we’ve kind of moved forward, I’m trying this brand-new thing of actually charging for my shows and I was terrified no one would show up. But the response has been phenomenal,” Kameleon said. 

Especially in a city like Hamilton without an established queer scene or a dedicated queer space, the resilience of the arts in the city was heartwarming to observe. 

Kameleon also missed working with other queens during the months spent doing at-home online shows. The sisterhood of being in a community of individuals with similar struggles, experiences and backstories is an important source of support for any drag queen.

As Ontario enters the next stage in the reopening plan, Kameleon is most excited to showcase her growth as an entertainer over the past year. She also hopes to help reshape the drag scene to ensure artists are treated with respect and compensated fairly for the work that they do. 

“[As we are] talking to the people who are part of the [drag] scene in every city, there is this understanding of, ‘Now that we know what it’s like not to have it and now that we know what we miss about it, we also kind of know what we deserve,’” Kameleon said.

More importantly, she is looking forward to more diversity in the drag community and the reopening of the world through the lens of everything that has happened last year, especially regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, Stop Asian Hate movement and the treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada. She hopes to see the world and the drag community in Hamilton move forward with a more open and inclusive mindset and more credit given to people of colour in the drag scene. 

If you love drag or appreciation for any of the arts, Kameleon encourages the local community to provide any form of support. Even if you can’t financially support an artist, every like, comment, or reshare is a form of support that can help boost their online platform and help their art feel more validated after a difficult past year. 

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