EastEnders’ first ever drag queen, Tara Misu, played by Matthew Morrison, was introduced to Albert Square last week as a regular character.
Matthew said it was a privilege “to showcase the creative art of drag” to viewers and the residents of Walford and to “represent the LGBTQIA+ community”.
“It’s important for people to feel reflected on screen,” he added.
He’s joined the cast in the role of Felix Baker, the younger son of Mitch Baker’s estranged brother Avery.
Lucas Young, a drag queen by the name of Ms Classpergers who uses the pronouns she/they, says it’s significant for a show as big as Eastenders to be “unapologetically dealing with these issues”.
It could have a big impact, Lucas feels, as growing up they didn’t see much representation on TV.
“If I had that realisation or opportunity from a younger age, I feel like I would have been able to begin creating more. And knowledge is power.
“The only way we can normalise drag and the queer community is to talk about it and make people aware of the people we are,” the 23-year-old from the East Midlands tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.
Lucas, who gets regular abuse because of a rainbow-dyed hairstyle, says people “are so scared of difference and change”.
But “EastEnders, which is a comfort show, can affect change”, they say.
Lucas is “excited to see what conversations” the show will create and whether “people who don’t necessarily understand the community” will be more open afterwards.
Matthew said he’d never done drag before.
Lucas’s “knee-jerk reaction” to this was that having a character who is already a seasoned drag queen would be preferable.
“However, if a person can do it without a drag persona, I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Lucas adds.
“Drag is an expression of an inner part of ourselves that we normally don’t get to show. Let’s create more drag queens, and as long as they do a good job I don’t see an issue with it.”
Eastenders is on BBC1 Monday – Thursday, and available on iPlayer.