Invalid Displayed GalleryThere are shows every week, but Monday shows are special. Opened 38 years ago, the Cathedral of Transformism in Lisbon, always reserves a night to present the new stars, or “place to the new”. They act for a miserable fee and compete for an award dinner that depends on the palms of the public. It is a kind of initiation for those who dream to reach the place of stars as Deborah Kristall or Samantha Rox – the two divas who brighten the bar for decades and receiving a comfortable salary to be who they are.
The “Finalmente” bar came in force after the revolution of April 25th, 1974, and is now an icon and a survivor in the Lisbon area. Transformist Shows are increasingly rare and you have to cross the Tagus river, to find a stage with another superstar of this bastard art: Suely Cadillac. She acts on the south marge of the river, in Almada, which only organizes performances on Saturdays. Although her statute in the business, she still has to hold a job outside the show, as with most of these artists in Portugal.
An underground but steadily growing reality, is that drag queens who aren’t asked to make performances regularly, end up turning to prostitution. With few exceptions, they most live in precarious conditions and sell the body on a street of the capital called Conde Redondo.
HIV is a ghost on everyone’s mind, but for many prostitutes protections fall when a client offers more money for sex without a condom. Because of the disease, there are transformists dying every year and others killing every day.