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

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].

March 13, 2019

11 Yr Old Performs in Drag At Bars~ Blogger Wanted it Stopped But Mom Cleared


By Doug Mainwaring
NEW YORK,(LifeSiteNews) — 
Drag kid “Desmond Is Amazing’s” mom has taken to social media to vindicate herself after state and local agencies determined that she has not committed child abuse by allowing her young son to perform in gay bars.
A barrage of allegations of abuse and exploitation were triggered when a video of Desmond performing in drag at the “3 Dollar Bill,” a gay club in Brooklyn, New York, was released last December. The internet and social media quickly erupted with calls for child welfare authorities to intervene.
Child Protective Services (CPS) investigated Desmond’s family, as did the New York City Administration for Child Services (ACS), the New York Police Department (NYPD), the Child Advocacy Center, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Department of Labor, and the District Attorney’s Office. 
“Because of the number of reports they received, our case went all the way to the Governor's office,” said Wendy Napoles, Desmond’s mom. “We had announced visits & unannounced visits to our home nearly daily & at all hours & Desmond’s school. Our family was probed more intensely than any other case before.”
This past weekend, Napoles posted on Instagram a series of ten photos of the exonerating letters she has received from the concerned agencies, showing that the assertions of child abuse were “unfounded.” 
“We have been accused of child abuse, exploitation & maltreatment to the point that we have been backed into a corner trying to defend ourselves,” she said in the Instagram posting. “We have been under a microscope since early December. I never thought I would have to breach my own privacy & confidentiality to provide proof that has been demanded of us out of malice.”   
Within the law versus the best interest of children
While Desmond’s mom dismisses the public’s concern as harassment because no crime has been committed, some suggest that what is legal might not necessarily be in her son’s best interest. 
Earlier this year, blogger Elizabeth Johnston, better known as The Activist Mommy, urged updating laws to protect children like Desmond.  
Johnston asserted that laws protecting children from sexual exploitation are not being applied to the LGBT community, saying, “It's 2019 when apparently it’s not only okay to be gay but also okay for grown gay men to pay little boys for dances in bars.” 
“Parents can get away with it because they are members of the all-protected LGBT community,” she said. “The double standard needs to end. And children in the LGBT community need to be protected as much as those outside.”
Desmond’s mom defends, says “times are changing” 
“Desmond is never allowed into the bar area of any club, nor the main floor. He stays backstage with me, in the dressing room, or on stage only. It must be noted, however, that it is not against the law in New York City for a minor to be in an establishment that serves alcohol as long as they are accompanied by an adult. 
“Desmond was the sole performer for the performance at the center of this controversy and he performed three numbers. The venue took measures to make sure it would be age appropriate and audience members that attended were respectful and in good conduct.
“I know a lot of drag fans/drag queens do not want to see kids in what they consider an adult form of entertainment or venue, but drag is changing and becoming more widespread and popular with people of all ages, genders, identities, races, abilities, and disabilities.m“My son is a professional drag performer, not a stripper,” said Napoles in an early January Facebook posting. “No one forces him to perform, performing is what he loves to do and has always loved to do.” 
“He was a ballet dancer for four years and is currently earning an A+ grade in drama at his school,” she continued. “He is extremely talented in his celebrity and character impersonations.”
“His costumes are less revealing than a dancer’s or cheerleader’s uniform and are always age appropriate. While he dances, he does not move in a sexual manner,” she asserted.  “He often collects tips, as drag queens sometimes do, which we allow him to keep and he uses to buy clothing and the toys he wants.” 
“His engagements are contracted and booked by his management agency,” she added. “All of his performances are conducted in accordance with the Dept of Labor's regulations for child performers.”
Even some drag queens, gays, and liberals object to Desmond’s adult club performances
At the same time, Napoles admitted via Facebook that some in the “drag community” had negative reactions to Desmond’s gay club performance.  
“I left after seeing a child dance on stage for money at nighttime. This was on Saturday night and I have been feeling disturbed ever since,” said a patron on Yelpshortly after Desmond’s drag dance act at the 3 Dollar Bill in December.
Another said the club “exploits children and sexualizes them in the wee hours of the morning” and then warned that it “has provided just the ammunition to homophobic everywhere and endangered the community.”
“11-year-olds are too young to be performing at bars. This should not be legal,” declared “God is not Real” on Twitter, adding, “I'm a liberal democrat.”
Note from the publisher(Adam): I have seen plenty of boys her age performing in bars as cowboy and dancers in Texas, just not in drag and I think that is what some hypocrites can't swallow. Putin will not agree with this! if we were in Russia but people forget that even though the president is close to Putin, still this is the USA

January 29, 2019

Beirut Tough Drag Queens are Flourishing and Defying Middle Eastern Habitual Conservatism

Lebanese drag queen Anissa Krana checks her makeup in the mirror at a friend’s house in Beirut ahead of the Grand Ball. The drag scene in the city has steadily grown over the past year. (Natalie Naccache for The Washington Post)
 Washington Post

 Anissa Krana is the center of attention, sitting quiet and cross-legged in the middle of the room. The storm of the year has started howling outside, and the party is just beginning around her. 
Friends chatter and buzz, painting lips and cheekbones on her face; everyone’s eyes are on the clock. Doors at 9. Onstage from 11.
The star of the show takes a deep breath.
Welcome to Beirut’s drag-queen scene and the night of the Grand Ball. For many, this evening would be a debut, and an introduction to a community that prides itself on its flair. But for Anissa Krana — a stage name for Aniss Ezzeddine, 22 — it is the high point of her first year performing, and the biggest audience yet. 
The Middle East is known for its conservatism, but with its febrile nightlife and more liberal mores, Beirut has long been hailed as a relative haven for the region’s LGBTQ community, though not without challenges.
Shows are often impromptu and take place under tight security. Some fliers make no mention of venues, so information travels by word of mouth. 
Performers usually turn up in their street clothes, transform into a whole new character, then shed their costumes again before slipping back outside. Anissa, though, will be making an entrance tonight. A car to the venue has been organized, and she wants to enjoy the reactions of her fellow passengers.  
Drag has deeper roots here than elsewhere in the Arab world, and over the past year, the scene has started to flourish. Many here who became drag performers grew up watching Bassem Feghali, a comedian who gained popularity in the early 2000s by impersonating female singers. In 2015, Evita Kedavra, a Palestinian Armenian drag queen, took the stage, and one by one, the circle grew. 

Anissa Krana has glitter applied at a friend’s home in Beirut. Her makeup usually takes hours to apply. (Natalie Naccache for The Washington Post)
With dozens having taken the plunge since last year’s Grand Ball, the artists credit one celebrity above all: RuPaul and his wildly successful talent show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” 
“That made a huge difference,” said Narcissa, another drag queen, of the Emmy-winning U.S. television series. “Suddenly everyone was watching it, and you just thought, ‘Wow, I could do that, too.’ Those artists taught us a lot.”
Now in its 10th season, the show has become mandatory viewing for most of Beirut’s queens, downloaded or streamed over the city’s famously poor Internet connection. “I just fell in love with it,” Anissa Krana said. “When you put on your wig for the first time, then the makeup, you just get into that character so fast.”
Emerging from those varied influences is a scene that blends an homage to American drag culture with something distinctively, and irreverently, Lebanese. Anissa Krana and Narcissa exude Hollywood glamour, all tumbling curls and dresses with jewels. Performers like Kawkab Zuhal set kohl liner on dramatic lashes for acts lip-syncing to Arabic music or telling sharp jokes about Lebanon’s crumbling political system.  
The city’s drag scene has taken off just over the past year, according to those in the know, with events rotating around a handful of trusted clubs. The Grand Ball earlier this month was to be at one of the biggest, with some 30 contestants competing in front of an exuberant, tightly packed crowd. The energy swelled as the performers rapped and belly-danced, their dresses depicting the four classical elements: earth, water, air and fire.
Sometimes, worlds collide. In October, to almost everyone’s surprise, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Sasha Velour strode through one of Beirut’s most famous civil war landmarks, a brutalist-style cinema still riddled with bullets known as the Egg. Videos from that party show the diva, dressed in scarlet sequins, sashaying past the crowd, sometimes pausing for the camera while others studiously ignore it.
“No one knew it was going to happen,” said Eli Rezkallah, the founder and creative director of Plastik Magazine, which organized the event. And when the music played, he said, the crowd was spellbound. “It was one of the most magical moments of my life,” Rezkallah said
Ahead of a performance, artists might spend weeks creating an outfit to suit their character.
“My drag is what I couldn’t be when I was young,” said one performer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety. He said he had started trying on his mother’s heels and makeup in secret, years before coming out as gay. When his parents found out, they barred him from their house and his friends turned on him.
He lives with other drag queens now. “They’re like my family,” he said. “We help each other with food, with makeup, money — everything.”
Others have faced similar trials, kicked out of their homes and ostracized by the communities in which they grew up. 

Krana’s make up palette. (Natalie Naccache for The Washington Post)
Although the Lebanese state is more tolerant of homosexuality than other Arab governments, the penal code can still be invoked to make arrests. In May, the organizer of Beirut’s Pride Week was detained on charges of “incitement to immorality,” before he was pressured into canceling a poetry reading, a sexual-health discussion and a legal-literacy workshop. 
“We don’t have stable laws here,” said Narcissa. “One minute, the state is looking one way; the next, it’s staring right at us.” 
Performers who choose to travel to their shows in drag can be stopped at checkpoints. Venue owners risk their licenses by putting on an event. Only a small number of venues are recognized as “safe spaces” for the drag and broader LGBTQ community, and owners must have strong ties to local authorities to ensure the police won’t turn up and harass attendees. 
“If I was doing this in New York, I wouldn’t think twice. I would just do it. But in Lebanon, you have to stop, you have to discuss everything,” Rezkallah said.
And yet the shows go on — usually without a hitch. 
“I want people to dream that this is normal, that this can happen in Lebanon, without knowing what we went through to get them there,” Rezkallah said. “I don’t want people to feel the struggle. I just wanted people to enjoy themselves.” 
By 8 on this recent evening, Anissa Krana was ready, her torso nestled in a royal-blue corset and glowing in the apartment’s low light. She wore thigh-high boots with heels sturdy enough to last the night. A platinum-blond wig was her pièce de résistance. 
“We’re going to have fun tonight,” she told friends as she struck a pose. With hands on her hips, she was the most commanding presence in the room. Then she turned on her heel and walked out toward the storm.
The car was waiting. It was time for the Grand Ball.

Krana in her royal-blue corset, thigh-high boots and platinum-blond wig. (Natalie Naccache for The Washington Post)

January 10, 2018

Drag Queens Come in All Shapes and Ages }} This One is Nine Yrs Old

Wow, where do you even begin with something like this? Apparently, a 10-year-old from Brooklyn, whose drag name is Desmond is Amazing, has launched a drag club for kids called Haus of Amazing at his Brooklyn school. Desmond Napoles began dressing in drag when he was a toddler often borrowing tutus and bedsheets, and says there are more kids out there just like him.
The club is a first of its kind and Desmond says no adults are allowed in. He told Out, an LGBT friendly publication, that ever since he could walk he’d wrap himself in bedsheets and strut around in his mother’s high heels. He’s been dubbed a drag superstar in LGBT circles.
On Thursday’s episode of “Pat Gray Unleashed,” Pat discussed the hypersexualization of young children veiled as social justice causes.

 Apparently, Desmond has attended Gay Pride in New York, made cameos in several LGBT music videos, and has seen a therapist who advised that the best cure for Desmond is to do nothing.
Watch Pat’s thoughts above. 
To see more from Pat, visit his channel on TheBlazeand listen live to “Pat Gray Unleashed” with Pat Gray weekdays 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET, only on TheBlaze Radio 

April 19, 2015

Anti Gay Republican Candidate was Drag Queen


Steve Wiles is your standard Republican candidate for the US Senate: he’s pro-gun. He’s anti-marriage equality. He used to be a drag queen and emceed the Miss Gay America pageant. Totally your typical Republican. 

Wait, a Republican drag artist? 

That’s right. 

Apparently the last Republican mid-term election got a bit nasty in North Carolina…or at least, that’s what Wiles thinks. The Winston-Salem Journal posted an article breaking the news that one Republican candidates who is all for a constitutional ban on marriage equality in North Carolina is a former drag queen. 

You could say that this bit of news queered his campaign. 

But there is so much wrong with a lot of his beliefs. 

For instance, this is his stance on same-sex marriage: “I don't really understand how you can separate the fact that marriage is a religious institution.” 

Let’s look at this in a historical context: marriage today is virtually nothing like it was thousands of years ago. Originally, it wasn’t about love. It was also (and this might be a shock to some) not really about religion either. It was a contract between two familiesthat often had to do with money, power, and land—there’s a reason why the bride’s family provided a dowry in so many cultures. Marriage for love only started becoming a thing about 250 years ago, and marriage wasn’t a religious institution until about the 1500s. 

Not that logic really matters, because Wiles says now that he has a problem with people who are gay. 

Looooooooord, this makes this man a bit of a hot mess. He was a drag queen. He frequented gay nightclubs. He was an emcee for Miss Gay America, of all contests. 

According to Business Insider, when Wiles was asked “whether his objection to the gay lifestyle was the reason he stopped promoting Miss Gay America,” he said, “It was. It really was.”

As to whether he also considers himself “ex-gay,” well…when asked about it, he said, “No, no, I really won’t make any comments on that.” 

Today, Wiles just says that having been a drag queen named Mona Sinclair is an embarrassment. 

He has some other oddities as well. For instance, he went from being a registered Democrat in 2008 to a Republican in 2012. Slate has suggested a very creative explanation for this: the persona of Steve Wiles is actually an act, perhaps the ultimate performance. It’s a man pretending to be a woman pretending to be a man. To quote Interview with the Vampire, “How avant garde.” 

The whole thing is enough to make your head spin. Why does he think he should be embarrassed about this past? Should he feel the need to re-closet himself? 

Perhaps this is a symptom of a problem within conservative politics: why can’t someone be both a Republican and gay? This should be an important question, as Log Cabin Republicans are being turned away from a conservative convention in Colorado. It’s also important to remember that all of the Republican candidates for president have backed the anti-LGBT law in Indiana

Maybe the time has come for the GOP to look at itself and see if there is still room for bigotry.                                                 

January 13, 2015

Muslim Drag Queens; Every nationality has them! (vid)

Meet Ali, a gay Pakistani asylum-seeker preparing for his first performance as a drag queen. Ali fled Pakistan, where he was persecuted for being gay, but now faces abuse from his neighbours in London. Mentored by Asifa Lahore, the UK's first Muslim drag queen, Ali is determined to overcome his fears and express himself in a dance performance at the UK's biggest 'gaysian' club night

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