AS the summer has come to an end, so too do many LGBTQ+ events across the country.

However, for many members of the LGBTQ+ community in rural areas like the Borders, accessing events can be a struggle throughout the year.

To get to LGBTQ+ specific events, it typically means people are forced to travel to cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow or Newcastle.

Despite the difficulty, there are those in the queer community in the Borders working to make sure everyone has an opportunity to enjoy events in safe spaces.

Phil Walker, owner of Phwoar! UK (an artist management company) told the Border Telegraph: "It feels like during COVID, if people understood the feeling of not being able to go out and not being able to go anywhere to socialise to have that feeling of a community, if they can appreciate that, for [the] LGBT within the Borders it feels like that all the time, because there's nowhere [to go], there's no community, there's none of that.

"There is nowhere to go to socialise with friends, or to feel like you can just be yourself and relax in a comfortable environment.

"So, you always feel isolated and somewhat remote and detached."

In recent years, LGBTQ+ media has been on the rise. And a show with particular prominence is RuPaul's Drag Race.

The award-winning TV phenomenon has developed a number of international franchises, including Drag Race UK which is broadcast by the BBC.

For those in rural communities, programmes which highlight queer stories are an opportunity to share in a community which can be hard to find at home.

Thanks to events hosted by Phwoar! UK, an array of drag performers from the Drag Race franchise, as well as talented performers right on our doorstep, have taken to the stage at a number of Borders venues, including Innerleithen, Ayton and Eyemouth.

Hometown hero and singing sensation Lourde Godd, has been doing drag for six years, and knows how important it is to bring queer events to communities like the Borders.

She said: "I think it's important for people to just see that we do exist within the Borders.

"I think sometimes people think drag queens and queer artists only exist in big cities, and we don't, we exist in the Borders.

"I think it's good so people can see us."

Events like drag shows can typically be found in cities up and down the country, with large scale events taking place in big venues.

But performers who have taken to these big stages say that smaller, more intimate events, like that which was held in Innerleithen during Pride Month, are just as enjoyable, and are even more important.

Stars of Drag Race UK season three, Choriza May and Scarlett Harlett, were two of the drag acts who had audiences on their feet at the Memorial Hall in July.

Choriza May, Newcastle's 'spiciest and silliest sausage', said: "I come from a small town in Valencia [Spain].

"For me, I always focus on visibility, my whole drag career I try to be visible in my town because I know how needed it is in smaller towns.

"When I was a young kid I thought I was the only gay person in the world because I didn't know anyone who was gay.

"So, I think it's very important, not only to be visible for those people who might be queer kids, who might see themselves in us because they want to be a drag queen, not only because of that, but to see that queer people can have successful lives and can achieve their dreams.

"It's very important to encourage little queer kids to really follow their dreams even when maybe their surroundings are telling them that success may not be for them.

"Even to other people in the town who might be little bit against it, to be visible for them to realise we exist and we are proud to be who we are."

Scarlett Harlett, from the Isle of Dogs, London, added: "The further north I go, especially when I perform in and around Scotland, I can't tell you how because of the lack of queer representation, people are so excited to come to drag shows.

"And the excitement that I see in their faces and how willing they are to get involved.

"It's more special to me to do a show somewhere more rural than it is somewhere like London.

"Drag queens don't just represent one kind of community within the wider queer community. They're just a nice representation of what's different about the queer community.

"A drag queen is pretty much a representation of going against the norm. I think people in rural areas who maybe aren't used to anything out the norm, you can feel that energy, that desire to live outside the binary."

As well as the work being done to bring events like drag shows to the Borders, there are other groups in the Borders with the goal of creating more safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people in the region to meet.

Scottish Borders LGBT Equality created the group Café Polari – a monthly meet-up – where queer people can gather at Café Recharge in Galashiels to meet other members of the community and make friends.

The group also hosts the Queer Borders Film Festival (September 24) at the Heart of Hawick and The Cornucopia Room.

The festival screens a number of LGBTQ+ films which highlight the intersections within the community – this year the shorts programme is introduced by Leah Francisco, a queer and deaf filmmaker. The shorts in this programme are all films made by and/or feature deaf creators and artists.

The Borders is also due to host its first Pride event next year.

Pride in the Borders, the group behind the event's planning, recently held its first public meeting to begin preparations.