DRAG QUEEN DOWN UNDER
WORDS BY SELLMA SOUL a.k.a ETHAN WATSON
When should I tell him I’m a drag queen? I ask myself this question all the time, and I hate it. My drag persona is a part of who I am. Drag is not only a career for me, it helps me to connect to people and shape the world around me. When I put on a face and high heels, I feel empowered to speak my mind. So why am I so ashamed to tell men that I’m a raging, flaming, wig-wearing WOMAN!?
It’s not easy being fabulous. I sacrifice a lot for it. One sacrifice is a sex life. I have had men visit my house who had no idea I was a drag queen, and as soon as they spot a wig or dress in my room they can quickly lose interest. I don’t blame them – RuPaul’s Drag Race has sensationalised the image of a drag queen: dramatic, loud, crass, too “fem” and high maintenance. People often forget that drag is a persona most of us put on: a shield of sequins and glitter. That shield doesn’t make me any less of a man. RPDR has entitled every queer to their opinion on drag and who drag queens are as a subculture. My personal favorite is that we are all bottoms…
“It’s not easy being fabulous. I sacrifice a lot for it. One sacrifice is a sex life.”
When did bottoming become a read? Why are there connotations of shame? The shame affects even me… I have caught myself saying VERS BTM on dating apps many times. GIRL, truth be truth I am a BTM and a drag queen and fem and fat AND FUCKING PROUD.
I’m tired of being told that I’m not manly enough or I’m not thin enough. In rebellion I’ve made it my personal mission to be in the limelight of gay culture and events and to present body positive fashion and performances. In turn, I have found mountains of support and love from the people who see in me a part of themselves.
So how do we cross the line of toxic masculinity together and view femininity in men as powerful and beautiful? I wear my identity on my sleeve, and I let the world know it. I present queer. I dress fluidly. To me, this is an unapologetic middle-finger to everyone that views me as less of a ‘man’. Beauty standards within our community are harmful on so many levels. I am upset by posters for clubs that I perform in featuring ripped to shit, more often than not, white men who are photoshopped beyond recognition that apparently appeal to all our desires.
“GIRL, truth be truth I am a BTM and a drag queen and fem and fat AND FUCKING PROUD.”
Whilst no simple solution exists to tackle these issues, we can take steps to improve the culture directly affiliated with us. We need to challenge and explore what we define as beautiful and what we define as masculine.
It doesn’t mean you have to put on a wig to challenge patriarchal constructs. But if you fear presenting as feminine, I ask you to question that fear. It will help you to support those around you who are masters of their own gender and self-expression. When we question our fear we give ourselves the opportunity to grow, and in turn, we move forward as a community that celebrates diversity.