Showing posts with label Drag Queen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drag Queen. Show all posts

January 15, 2020

This College Student Lead a Protest Against Drag Queens, Then Committed Suicide







By 

With his thumbs in his pockets, Wilson Gavin stood at the front of the crowd, leading a videotaped chant that would quickly go viral: “Drag queens are not for kids." 
As the president of a conservative group at his Australian university, the 21-year-old had steered protesters into a public library in Brisbane, where they barged into a room full of families attending “Drag Queen Story Time.” Inside, the group faced off with a sequined, costumed performer who had been reading from a children’s book.

Kids in the audience asked what was happening. Parents called the police, and a handful filmed the confrontation. As their videos spread across social media, politicians chimed in — most of them condemning the protest as a hateful act.
The next day, Gavin, who was openly gay, took his own life.
That rapid succession of events has turned a young man’s death into an emotional and political controversy in Australia’s third-largest city and across the country: Some have pointed to an overwhelming “social media mob” that came after Gavin. Others have talked about disproportionately high rates of suicide among LGBTQ youth, or a culture they say lacks acceptance. 
Others still have insisted that it is inappropriate to make any kind of political statements at all.
“To me, this incident transcends politics. It is about humanity, and about recognizing that everybody has it,” Johnny Valkyrie, one of the drag queens at the library event, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I only wish I could tell him I love and support him.” 
In recent years, Gavin had emerged as a young voice for conservatism in Australian politics. Despite his sexual orientation, he opposed same-sex marriage and actively campaigned against the issue in 2017, when it went up for a national referendum.
In 2018, he defended the role of the British monarchy on “Outsiders,” a political talk show whose hosts have described themselves as “Trump’s Aussie mates." 
“I’m a lover of all things traditional. I’m a lover of all things beautiful,” he said on the show. “And there’s nothing more traditional in this country than the monarchy.”  
Satyajeet Marrar, a fellow member of the Australian Monarchist League, said Gavin was an “outspoken young man with a good heart.” 
“Despite holding opinions that some people disagree with strongly, he would defend them with conviction,” Marrar wrote on Facebook. “Brave and admirable traits while most of us in this generation spend years obsessing over what others think of us.” 
At the University of Queensland, Gavin became president of the school’s Liberal National Club, which branded itself as the local chapter of Australia’s right-wing political party. Although the national organization disaffiliated itself from the university club in December, members maintained ties with at least one member of Parliament and sought out opportunities for political action.
On Sunday, their venue was the local public library, and their target was a drag queen reading a children’s book. Much like in the United States, the queens’ family-friendly recitations — meant to foster free expression and tolerance toward LGBTQ people — have emerged as a cultural point of tension. 
In Brisbane, however, the city council had voted to sponsor a drag queen story time. So Gavin and the UQ Liberal National Club organized a protest to “defend LNP values against a corrosive gender ideology,” the club wrote on its Facebook page, according to ABC Australia.
“This event is designed to indoctrinate and sexualise young children. Our kids deserve better than this! Why is this moral filth being paid for by the taxpayer?” the post stated. (As of early Tuesday, the group’s page appeared to have been deleted, and the club did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.)
One mother at the event, Jenny Griffin, said one of her children, who are 6 and 8, started to cry out of fear and confusion in response to the “harassing and kind of threatening” protesters, she told ABC. 
Many elected officials and commentators seemed to agree with her. As videos of the confrontation spread across social media, politicians on the left and right criticized the fiery protest, calling the students “bigots,” “homophobes” and “bullies.” Trevor Evans, an openly gay lawmaker from Brisbane, condemned them as “ratbags.” 
Online, Gavin defended himself and the action, saying it was part of the LNP’s fight against “politically correct rubbish.” But even LNP politicians distanced themselves from the demonstration.
On Monday, less than a day later, police told Australian media that Gavin had taken his own life.
Various corners of Australian society, which had already fiercely debated the protest, interpreted his death as radically different kinds of tragedies.
George Christensen, a conservative member of Parliament, used it as an opportunity to attack “broken” social media networks and announce he would be deleting his Twitter account. He said “Twitter keyboard warriors [had piled] on an individual for a political protest."  
Mark Robinson, another right-wing politician and the sponsor of the UQ club, said Gavin was “treated terribly for “taking a principled stand to protect children from inappropriate sexualisation.” 

As current State patron of the UQ LN Club, I’m deeply saddened to hear of the death of Wilson Gavin. Wilson & his friends took a principled stand to protect children from inappropriate sexualisation & gender fluid ideology. For that he was treated terribly. Wilson, RIP!

1,216 people are talking about this
For other Australians, however, Gavin’s death was instead a sign of the mental health issues affecting LGBTQ youth — and the homophobia some of them said was instilled and spread by those on the Australian right.
Drew Pavlou, a friend of Gavin’s at UQ, remembered him as a “very decent and kind person” who may have also been coping with such issues.
“He had his struggles and made mistakes, and it is a tragedy for us all that he ultimately succumbed to his suffering and pain,” Pavlou wrote on Twitter. “Today is a reminder of all we must do to affirm to young marginalized Australians the intrinsic worth and value of their lives.”  

I was friends with Wilson. Away from the social media storms and headlines, he was at his core a very decent and kind person that cared for others. I had the great privilege of seeing that side of him in life. He was hilarious, a complete riot to be around

44 people are talking about this
Valkyrie, the 23-year-old drag queen, told The Post that while Gavin’s death should transcend politics, the influence of certain political views — namely, those like Christensen’s — had left a noticeable mark on the situation. The drag queen and activist said he himself had attempted suicide 13 times during his adolescence while coming out and coming to terms with his identity: He is both transgender and gay, he said.
“Wilson may have contributed to the incident, which harmed myself and others, but I forgive him,” Valkyrie said, tearing up on the phone, “and I understand that he was troubled. … I only wish I could tell him I love and support him.” 
On social media, he offered him up a message anyway.
“What you did on Sunday was unacceptable,” Valkyrie wrote. “Who you were was not." 

CW: Suicide, Wilson Gavin

Wilson, I love you.

Wilson, I forgive you.

Wilson, I see you.

Wilson, I pray for you.

What you did on Sunday was unacceptable.

Who you were was not.
❤️🧡💛💚💙💜💖

Wilson, I love you. 🕯
❤️🧡💛💚💙💜💖

🕯

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June 4, 2019

In Argentina “Cholita” Using Folklore in Singing, Dancing and Challenges Gender and Stereotypes





Screen capture from “Ramita Seca,” produced by Elisa Portela via YouTube, featuring choreography and interpretation of “Bartolina Xixa” a drag persona inspired by Andean indigenous aesthetics.
In the middle of a large garbage dump, surrounded by fog, a figure in a wide pastel pink skirt and long braids dances a vidala, a form of traditional poetry accompanied by music typical of Argentinian folklore.

                         
A small portrait of Romina Navarro
Written byRomina Navarro
Translated byDaniela Cristain



It's Bartolina Xixa, the Andean “drag folk” character created by Maximiliano Mamaní, who reassesses Argentinian northern folklore from a gender perspective and aims to decolonize it with a focus on indigenous peoples.
In their most recent work, “Dry Little Branch, the Permanent Coloniality,” the artist chose the open-air dump setting of Hornillos, located in the Quebrada of Humahuaca, a region declared as a cultural and natural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2003.
The vidala has plenty of symbolism. Composed by singer-songwriter Aldana Bello, the lyrics explore the topic of mining exploitation and atrocities perpetrated against Indigenous communities: 
 This vidala I'm singing / Is bleeding with grief and pain / The injustices of centuries / Still stand fierce […] In the Andean zone there are mining [companies] / They pollute dreams / Water, land, everything / [everything] that surrounds them.
Mamaní was born in Jujuy, located in far northwest Argentina, and grew up in the neighboring region of Salta. They study Anthropology at the National University of Salta and work as a professor of folk dance.
With Bartolina Xixa, Mamaní challenges stereotypes found in folk art, in which gender roles perpetuate binary structures that leave out a range of identities. As Mamaní points out in an interview with the Argentine site VOS:
I perform Argentine, Peruvian and Bolivian folk dances. I like folk music, which is why I had the need to reflect on it and on my position as a gay man in it, as I was being denied the opportunity to express myself when it came to build a choreography and make a partner dance…
And they add:
I realized that the same thing was happening to many others, because folklore has been designed from a heterosexual point of view. Certain attributes are given to the male figure, to the gauchos [for example], such as strength, firmness, and courtship. He is the one who leads. Women, meanwhile, are submissive, complacent.

A tribute to an Aymara heroine

Mamaní's social questionings are not limited to the world of folklore — they also address the tendencies that dominate global aesthetics with which “drag” is approached, an aesthetic that the artist says is linked to stereotypes of Western cultures’ notions of the feminine.
Their drag character is a departure from that tendency: Inspired by Bartolina Sisa Vargas, an Aymara leader who rebelled against the Spanish empire and subsequently captured, tortured and murdered in La Paz, Bolivia, in 1782, Mamaní pays tribute to this Andean woman, the “cholita” — “a hardworking woman, head of her household, who goes out to work every day, and who has ties to her family, her community, her ancestors, her traditions.”

Bartolina Xixa during a presentation in Buenos Aires, June 2018. Photo by Elisa Portela, used with permission.
In an episode of the podcast “Relatos Disidentes” or “Dissident Chronicles,” from the Salta-based portal, VóVè, Mamaní describes his character:
I usually say that I lend my body to Bartolina Xixa. [A character that] was born from the urgency of being able to think of other ways of doing folklore, another way of understanding identities that cross my own experience and that cross a whole group's experience.

Challenging the construction of Argentine masculinity and the “LGBT-norm”

Mamaní's activism and militancy appeal to social networks — especially Facebookand Instagram — through which to convey provocative messages. The best example is a Facebook post that became known as the “gay kiss,” which went viral on the platform in November 2018.
They shared the post during the pre-game soccer match between Boca Juniors and River Plate soccer clubs, featuring images of Mamaní kissing another man in front of the convent, San Bernardo, in Salta, while wearing the shirts of the rival teams. They declared it the “Super Classic Gay Kiss”:
An extract of the text in the post reads:
The super classic Gay Kiss. We're black, we're from the slums, we're from the countryside, we're poor. We don't have the stereotypical slim body, we're the face that coloniality refuses to acknowledge. We're fags, empowered and subaltern, away from the steretypical “classic” gay [man] […] We live our lives in spaces and memories that are always silenced by the heteronorm and the LGBTnorm […] An Argentine clssic is not Boca vs River. An Argentinian classic is seeing we're stigmatized, insulted, expelled (from our lands), hated, killed.
The post attracted all kinds of reactions and comments of support, rejection, ridicule, admiration, love, and hate from users. Global Voices spoke with Mamaní about the post via WhatsApp:
An interesting thing was seeing how they were attacking us by saying we were not Argentinian […] What they were trying to say is that the face of Argentina is white, is heterosexual, and has no brown or indigenous attributes, nor it has any sexual diversity.
Mamaní acknowledged that he is cautious when he publishes on social networks, aware of how it exposes them to attacks and intolerance. But they do not let attacks and negative criticism interfere with their main goal to disseminate artistic work through their drag persona, Bartolina, in the spirit of environmental, social, political and gender activism.
Mamaní also stressed how they are constantly challenged within the “drag queen scene” and LGBTQ communities of Argentina. Their way of expressing diversity from a “peripheral perspective” — away from the urban centers of power, Mamaní says, is questioned by choosing, instead, a drag character from the aesthetic of Bolivian indigenous culture:
It is not the same to be a white gay [man] from the city than a brown gay [man], with body that is not normative [according the dominant idea of beauty], with an indigenous face, who lives in a community far from all capitalist culture. [Being] gay, poor, from the working class… all of that defines and differentiates [our social] structures [and experiences].

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