It’s time for York’s drag scene to show the ancient city more spectacles of art.
Drag race UK ended last Thursday, with the finale episode showing three queens battling it out to be crowned as the first British drag race winner.
The last episode saw queens Baga Chipz, The Vivienne and Yorkshire’s own Divina De Campo lip sync for their lives awaiting Rupauls decision.
De Campo who is originally from Brighouse in West Yorkshire, placed second in the series.
After proving herself throughout the show effortlessly tackling each challenge with flying bright sparkly colours.
Drag lifestyle has been represented on a small scale through programmes like this.
But is it an accurate representation of the culture in terms of local drag?
York based drag queen, Gayle Force states that the show isn’t a true representation of the drag identity;
“As hard as it is to show a culture in a produced reality competition. RuPaul’s Drag Race (RPDR) has come under fire quite a lot for its lack of diversity, and drag culture is so diverse.
We are shown a lot of predominantly white ‘pageant style’ American drag, and that literally scratches the surface.”
However, Force also agreed that the program has helped with the exposure and acceptance of drag queens.
“The exposure to drag for literally millions of people is incredible. It makes the demand for drag go up by a huge amount.
“But the downside of that is people whose only knowledge of drag is RPDR come to expect that from a drag show, or only queens that fit that bill will get booked.
But the show is branching itself out slowly but surely, and this is going to help a lot”
Does York have drag history?
When you talk about York, drag isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The initial thought tends to be tea, chocolate and plenty of Viking history.
But what you may not realise is that York is hiding an up and coming drag scene that is waiting to breakthrough.
Tom Tyra, a drag queen who is also originally from York explains that there is still room for more drag queens in the city;
“There isn’t that much of an LGBTQ+ scene in York really, we have Proud – which is the monthly night run by York Pride to raise money for the annual Pride celebrations. And we now have the event I am part of at Revolution York – we do a drag brunch every other month.
All of the events I’ve been involved in or I have been to have always been very well supported. I think the scene is known but maybe not by everyone so there is definitely room for growth.”
Drag has been around since the 17th century when actors dressed in female clothing to play the parts of women. However, the term drag wasn’t used in this context until the late 1800s.
Drag itself doesn’t limit itself to the opinions of others. It’s a physical form of art which allows men and women to express themselves in different forms.
How hard is it to be a drag queen in front of audiences who may not understand?
Drag has always been a controversial topic, there has always been people who have had their opinions on what the art form is about.
Even those who express their femininity have been in the firing line for instance take Eddie Izzard and David Bowie.
Two men who broke down barriers of traditional masculinity were at the forefront of criticism for wearing make-up.
Tyra says that in order to push past negative criticism drag queens have to know their own strengths.
“Drag queens can be a more vicious section of the community and instead of supporting each other. Some feel the need to belittle which I can only put down to feeling threatened.
Every Queen is unique and brings something different to the table. Embrace what makes you unique and run with that. Don’t be afraid to try things and fail as people will see the human in you.
Support that over someone who is so polished and doesn’t show vulnerability.”