by Liless Case, AKA Victoria C. Von Dahlia, Ms. Charlotte Pride, NC Drag Performer

For this month’s column, Victoria C. Von Dahlia, the current Ms. Charlotte Pride, shares her thoughts on the importance of drag and addressed the current political attacks on the art form.

Drag and its effect on the youth of the world have been a huge topic in the media lately, but before we get into that, I think it’s important to talk a little bit about its history. Many previous cultures didn’t allow female individuals to publicly entertain, so female characters in stage productions were young men dressed in drag. Some examples include ancient Egypt plays, Greek and Roman theater, and even Shakespeare’s Juliet were played by a man. In today’s world, drag has expanded way beyond the scope of a man dressed as a woman; drag performers get to live whatever fantasy they see fit. Drag is open to all no matter your race, gender, sex, style, or more – we welcome you to the stage.

Drag has become an internationally renowned form of entertainment found in all kinds of venues from your local LGBTQIA+ bar with a rotating cast of amazing performers to the ally restaurant down the road that hosts drag brunches. Then you have your local, state, regional, national, or world pride events that host a variety of drag performers to keep the party going. Drag has even joined mainstream national television with the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race and all its subsequent spinoffs. Drag is alive and well throughout the entire world.

I started drag one day for fun when I participated in a turnabout show. This is a show where people who don’t normally do drag or don’t normally do a certain type of drag put on their best attire, go out and have fun. I volunteered because I was good friends with some of the cast and I had always been curious. I slapped on way too much makeup, a bad wig, six-inch stilettos, a way to long of a gown, and performed the song “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. This is the night Victoria C. Von Dahlia was born. Drag gave me an outlet to express myself, let my creativity flow, and just have fun. I don’t think she is going anywhere soon.

Despite drag’s mainstream popularity, lawmakers all over the United States have decided that drag is not okay. New laws are being created, which threaten the art of drag. Tennessee was the first to create such a law that equated drag performances to that found in an adult-only venue; drag performers would now be no longer able to perform at events in which children may be present, like Pride and drag story hours. These lawmakers claim that drag in all forms and venues are unsafe and damaging to children, which isn’t the case. Drag performers gauge their audience when deciding their performance materials. If there are children in attendance, they will choose family-friendly songs and costumes. If they are in a bar or venue in which attendance is required by law to be 18 or older, then the sky’s the limit. This is to ensure that they are creating a safe environment for all people in attendance. Drag is not designed to harm; it’s designed to entertain and that comes in all varieties for all audiences and can change as needed.

Drag is not a crime. We are simply wanting to live our lives and entertain the crowd. If you support drag, then please use your voice. Contact your local politicians in support of drag performers. Visit your local LGBTQIA+ establishments. Buy a ticket to that local drag brunch, bingo, or production event. Follow local drag entertainers on social media. Tip your drag entertainers at these events so that they can continue to provide quality entertainment for you and your children. If nothing else, a simple compliment can make their day. It takes nothing to practice compassion and understanding.

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