Pa­tri­cia Mc­Carthy

Re­turn of the Drag Queens

The London Magazine - - NEWS - Pa­tri­cia Mc­Carthy

Drag-queen sto­ry­tellers are hop­ing to go into Bris­tol pri­mary schools to add some sparkle to lessons – and over­come a few in­grained so­cial prej­u­dices to boot.

Times Ed­u­ca­tional Sup­ple­ment, 23 June, 2017

We knew them back then: drag queens in pan­tomime, with deep cleav­ages, bouf­fant wigs, se­quins and feather boas,

on heels high, al­most, as stilts. Their voices – bawdy, bass – mocked any proper lady’s or dame’s. How risqué they were pop­ping

their sus­penders, tight­en­ing their corsets, with a flash of an in­ner thigh. Re­mote as ogres and mon­sters in fairy tales –

they helped us han­dle fears and trau­mas; didn’t ex­pect us to cope with their re­al­ity. Yet now they are sashay­ing from the­atres

and mu­sic halls, faded cross-dressers as they cross old bound­aries, cross-hatch­ing tra­di­tional story books, be­fore in­scrib­ing

new themes: boy princesses in dresses skin-tight, girl kings with mous­taches.’ They cross-stitch into their per­for­mances

tots too young, even, for rôles at Christ­mas in live cribs. Like them, back then, we were in­no­cent of prej­u­diced et­y­molo­gies.

As girls we acted in Ten Lit­tle Nig­ger Boys in the vil­lage hall, and counted back­wards with dread as we dropped down un­til

‘there were none’. With play­grounds full of tomboys and sissies, and hermaphrodites as imag­i­nary friends, we didn’t need lessons

in skew­ered gen­ders even if we de­fined boys by their cross­bars on bikes, girls by tu­tus, blocked satin toes. The drag queens are back,

strip­ping blues and pinks from nurs­eries, en­cour­ag­ing same-sex crushes be­fore their time. While their false eye­lashes sweep from floors

of class­rooms the lady­birds and cater­pil­lars col­lected in match­boxes, we re-in­vent cat-calls and wolf-whis­tles to usher them out.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.