QUEENS OF THE NIGHT

Scout - - CONTENTS - Words by ROGIN LOSA Pho­tog­ra­phy by JACK ALINDAHAO

“UN­LIKE ANY OTHER FORM OF ART AND EN­TER­TAIN­MENT DRAG IS EX­PAND­ABLE TO THE NTH PO ER AND THAT S HAT MAKES IT UNIQUE AND UN­BREAK­ABLE.”

DRAG IS AN ART form per­tain­ing to dress­ing up as es­pe­cially in the heart of Manila. “I re­mem­ber telling my­self the day I started watch­ing Rupaul’s Drag Race back in 2011: This is go­ing to be main­stream. And look what we have here—it’s crazy and beau­ti­ful.” Young drag queens like Prince De Cas­tro drag scene.

But drag isn’t a new art form here. Here, we have cen­turies’ worth of drag her­story.

J. Neil Gar­cia writes in Male Ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity in the

Philip­pines that “gen­der cross­ing and transvestism were cul­tural fea­tures” in early Philip­pines. Spir­i­tual lead­ers like the babay­lan prac­ticed drag. They gained “so­cial and sym­bolic recog­ni­tion as ‘some­what women’” dur­ing the early years of our na­tion.

Ev­ery­thing changed when Spaniards found this cul­ture years of colo­nial rule. The 1960s Gay

Life in the Philip­pines been neg­a­tive, but it is dif­fi­cult to trace.” But the queen known as Crispulo “Pu­long” Luna still prac­ticed cross­dress­ing dur­ing the Amer­i­can oc­cu­pa­tion.

In J. Neil’s book Per­form­ing the elf cca­sional Prose, he wrote about how Pu­long dis­cov­ered the in­fa­mous Vic­to­ria Stu­dios where he had his por­traits all dressed in baro’t saya to Ja­panese geisha robes.

Markova (aka Wal­ter Demp­ster Jr.) be­came prom­i­nent dur­ing the Ja­panese rule. But they were far from tol­er­ated as they were tor­tured and raped by sol­diers. “Ev­ery day, 20 Ja­panese were rap­ing us. Imag­ine! We could hardly Ron­ald D. Klein.

ac­cept­ing as it is now to­day yet and gay cul­ture in the Philip­pines had come. All of these events aren’t re­mem­bered by a lot of queens to­day. Yet, these peo­ple the thriv­ing cul­ture they’re liv­ing in now.

“Un­like any other form of art and en­ter­tain­ment, drag is and un­break­able.”

Filipino drag cul­ture still per­sists and evolves as time goes by. Col­o­niza­tion gen­der iden­tity. It re­sulted in our pas­sive- ag­gres­sive tol­er­ance for the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity, and our blurred def­i­ni­tions of bakla, drag queens, and trans­gen­der.

al­ways been a part of us. As the in­ter­na­tional drag queen Rupaul Charles once said: “We were born naked and the rest is drag.”

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