Safety on the bus
I agree with Aitken and Lukinbeal that the drag performers in â€śPriscilla, Queen of the Desertâ€? donâ€™t actually accomplish more than a token amount of subversion during their trip across the outback. Despite the time that they are three queer individuals traveling into a severely homophobic and conservative space they are always able to retreat to a safe space. If they were unable to return to the safety of their bus but were instead forced to endure prolonged interaction with the homophobic citizens of the outback could have been some sort of dramatic event that could eventually lead to a change in the attitudes of the people they encounter. During the scene were the group of men drinking outside in Alice Springs begin attacking Felicia they are stopped from causing any severe damage because Bob shows up. Then all the characters retreat to their hotel and eventually leave on their bus. Imagine what would have happened if the characters were faced with the death or injury of on of their friends. Law enforcement would have been involved, investigation hopefully would have occurred and something public would have been enacted whether for an eventually positive or negative consequence. By continually passing through hostile space the inhabitants of Pricilla donâ€™t even stay long enough to change anything in their surroundings. When their bus is defaced with a vile message the vandalism is accomplished and then they move on. No one has to ever see the bus again, be embarrassed, make new connections with travelers and eventually involve them in a community. Instead the bus moves on. The ability of the characters to continually move through the Outbackâ€™s unfriendly spaces is liberating in a way because the characters are allowed a sort of freedom by not being stuck in a single small environment. However they never enlarge their free space beyond the confines of the bus that has traveled with them since Sydney and that eventually carries them back. In the end have they accomplished anything by their journey? Have they actually been anywhere besides the interior of a bus named Priscilla?