This article was published on March 16th, 2015
Drag queens are an integral part of every gay community. They play an important role, as gay rights advocates, entertainers, role-models, and influencers. If you have never been to a drag show, or if you’re only been to a few and don’t understand what it’s all about, you’re about to unlock the secrets to these incredible people!
“For me, drag is a performance art, no different than acting, singing, or getting on a stage to perform any other form of art,” said Alberta drag queen and competitor in the upcoming Alberta’s Next Drag Superstar, MacKenzie Royce, who goes by the drag name, Carmon Dioxide. “It combines makeup artistry, fashion, comedy, and acting all in one crazy character that I have created: Carmen Dioxide. She’s quirky, she’s ditsy, and she can drink you under the table any day!”
Drag means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some view it as an extension of their personality; others, as an opportunity for fundraising; even still, some pursue it as an actual career.
With the explosion of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and perhaps more importantly, the coming forth of many community queens, many people have picked up this unique art form and done some insanely creative things with it.
“I think each drag queen brings something different to the stage, and whatever it is, it’s truly wonderful,” said Carmen Dioxide. “With all of these things being said I also think that it is important to differentiate between people who perform in drag, gender-fluid individuals, and trans individuals for several different reasons.”
“If we group people who are trans and people who perform in drag into one group, it gives people the idea that trans people are only dressing up for entertainment and attention,” said Carmen Dioxide. “This is not that case. Trans people have a truly individual lived experience in which their gender identity just not match the sex they were assigned at birth. It is not a choice. Performing in drag is.”
Furthermore, there is a widely held stereotype of guys who perform in drag, that this means that you want to be a woman. This is not the case. Drag performers are artists. They are creative and push the boundaries of what people call art every time they get up on stage.
“It takes time, money, and a great deal of courage to go out into the world with a wig, a pair of heels, and a pound of makeup on your face,” stated Carmen Dioxide point-blankly.
“By grouping people who are gender fluid and people who perform in drag together, we do a similar thing: we negate the individual and subjective experience of the gender fluid individuals in society who do not necessarily define themselves by gender,” explains Carmen Dioxide. “Instead they feel comfortable expressing themselves as both men and women, without a thought. Again, not a choice. In the same way that trans people deserve to be respected, understood, and accepted, so too do those who are gender fluid.
Essentially by grouping all of these unique people together it underminea the value of their personal, social, and all other categories of their identity.
“I am a male and I have always felt that way,” explains Carmen Dioxide. “I perform in drag for entertainment and to help my community raise money for some amazing causes. It’s not because I feel I am actually a different gender, nor is it a sexual fetish. It’s simply something I do. I feel comfortable dressing up like a woman, because I don’t think it is embarrassing to be a woman. I don’t see going to a drag show or performing in a drag show as any different than going to see a play or acting in a play – and neither should you.
Ultimately, no mater how an individual identifies with him or herself, each and every one of us deserve the respect that you would give any other individual in the world. is here to experience. But never, assume or pass judgment on someone for who they are or what they do simply because you did not take the time to ask the question.