Each year drag artists sashay to the front of Pride. Between activism, main stage performances and brand collaborations, I think it is safe to say that drag is the face of Pride.
Throughout history, Drag has been rooted in activism - before corporations took to slacktivism, drag queens were at the frontlines of fighting for queer rights.
Pride Then: Stonewall Uprising of 1969
The first Pride march after Stonewall, NYC, 1970
Fed up with harassment against 2SLGBTQ+ people, the NYC gay community fought back when the Stonewall Inn was raided by police. Thus begun 3 days of riots, becoming a catalyst for queer rights.
Martha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera (far left) pictured at a gay rights rally in 1973
Martha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender drag queens, spearheaded the Stonewall Uprising as two of the main instigators - helping propel gay liberation. In 1970, they created the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an activist organization geared towards helping LGBT youth and advocating for transgender rights.
Pride Now: Drag in the Mainstream
Priyanka for Vizzy
Now, drag has been pushed into mainstream media like never before through the growing popularity of shows like Rupaul's Drag Race. This has brought upon opportunities for drag artists to collaborate with brands and businesses to help celebrate this pride, and all to come.
Of course, there are decades full of queer history between Stonewall and today, such as the AIDS epidemic, where the LGBTQ+ community had to, once again, come together in times where the government failed to help. Today, Drag artists openly battle HIV stigma in the media, now that they have the platform to do so.
Celebrate With Us
Here at Drag Academy we honour those who gave us our rights and those who continue to fight to do so. Pride is a celebration of queer history and 2SLGBTQ+ people everywhere. Through public celebration, we ensure that our voices are heard by not only government officials, but those struggling with their identity. We’re queer, we’re here and we’re not going anywhere.
Come celebrate this pride with us at: https://www.dragacademy.ca/events
Contributed by Alissa Nardini, a writer for Drag Academy.