Meet Wayne Allingham, the founder of Disabled, Queer and Here. Born with hemiparesis, a condition that weakens one side of the body, Allingham was told he’d be in a wheelchair by age 30. At 45, he’s still on his feet and runs London’s only queer club night that provides a platform for disabled people in the LGBTQ community.
“You’ve got being gay, and you’ve got being disabled,” says Allingham, who has been performing as a drag queen for 17 years. “That’s two main aspects of where your vulnerability will come in.”
Allingham launched Disabled, Queer and Here in 2018, keen to raise awareness and understanding of disability within the LGBTQ community. Allingham was pulled up on stage and discovered his own knack for performing nearly two decades ago, and his club night has allowed other disabled LGBTQ people to express themselves and celebrate their differences.
“I’m fed up with getting shunned because of my disability,” says one of the night’s performers at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. “But I’m not given an opportunity to say, ‘Here I am.’ So something like this is so fantastic.” An exuberant variety-turned-game show featuring everything from drag and lip-syncing to poetry and song, Disabled, Queer and Here has provided an all-inclusive space for disabled members of the LGBTQ community and beyond.
The monthly club night is hosted by a variety of venues across London, which are always accessible and equipped for disabled people. One such venue is the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (or the RVT), a stalwart of London’s LGBTQ scene. “There’s a lot of people in there but not a lot of judgement,” says one customer at the RVT.