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Houston's Drag Illusion Performers Proudly Showcase Their Beards Glittering With Real Meaning For A New Generation Of LGBT Pride.

HOUSTON — (March 14) — From big and beautiful hair to mugs that have been painted for the gods, the art of drag has been a staple in the LGBTQ+ community for decades. For many, drag has become an escape from their daily lives allowing them to transform into fabulous and divine drag performers.

It’s an expression of art with inspiration drawn from those before them and also their own originality. When most people think of drag they think of a man who is a female illusionist. However, the drag scene in Houston and across the state has shown us that there are many facets to the art of this centuries old profession.

“Freedom of expression and creativity. For me drag is an outlet to be as flamboyant as I can be without being judged.”- Barbara Coa, Houston Drag Performer

In Season 8 of Dessie’s Drag Race at Michael’s Outpost, the Houston drag scene was introduced to two very intriguing and talented queens who brought something a little different to the table. The wigs, make-up, costumes and high heels were all there but these two beauties decided to keep their full beards instead of shaving like most queens do. Looking around the audience during each of their performances you could read how each person felt. Confused, intrigued, oddly satisfied and definitely wanting more. Unbeknownst to LGBTQ+ youth, beards in drag have been around since late 1969, notably as performed by The Cockettes and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.


 


 

I sat down with a few of Houston’s bearded drag queens as well as some of Houston’s most well-known and successful drag queens to get more insight on why bearded drag has once again returned to popularity.

BLACKBERRI

About Blackberri

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SJ: What does drag mean to you?

BB: “For me, drag is an expression of someone’s artistic vision. When I am performing I am showing the world my fantasy persona.”

SJ: Why is it so important for you to have a beard?

BB: “In the bear/cub community everything is hyper masculine, so for me to be able to keep my beard while being feminine was very liberating.”

SJ: What has been the response since you have started doing drag as a bearded queen?

BB: “Most people are confused until they actually see me perform and then they are able to look past the beard. I also have a lot of people tell me that they never understood bearded drag until they saw me perform so that’s always nice.

SJ: Have you faced any sort of adversity? Either from your friends or family or possibly a show director?

BB: “For the most part everyone has been very supportive. There are 2 bars I know I can’t get booked at because of my beard but I’m continually breaking barriers so I’m optimistic that it could happen in the future.”

SJ: Lastly, do you have anything you want to say to other bearded drag queens or just non conforming LGBTQ peoples?

BB: “Just keep living your truth. If you do that you will always be successful.”

KLONOPIN KARDASHIAN

About Klonopin

SJ: What does drag mean to you?

KK: “Drag to me is gender as a performance/visual form of art. It’s the ultimate commentary on gender and as there are many types of drag, there are as many discourses on gender through this art form.”

SJ: Why is it so important for you to have a beard?

KK: “It is important for me to have a beard because my drag is a juxtaposition of the ultra feminine and the ultra masculine. I want to create my own definition of androgyny and for me that means performing as a bearded drag queen.”

SJ: Would you ever consider competing in one of the big pageantry systems? America, USofA, Continental? Why or why not?

KK: “I would never do a pageant unless it was specifically a bearded pageant. For one, I am not interested in that style of drag. It’s not for me and I would be occupying space that isn’t welcoming to me or one that I belong in.”

BARBARA COA

About Barbara

SJ: What does drag mean to you?

BC: “Freedom of expression and creativity. For me drag is an outlet to be as flamboyant as I can be without being judged.”

SJ: Would you ever consider competing in one of the big pageantry systems? America, USofA, Continental? Why or why not?

BC: “If the opportunity comes along, why not? I think a bearded queen can be just as beautiful and competitive as a queen who doesn’t have a beard.”

SJ: Lastly, do you have anything you want to say to other bearded drag queens or just non conforming LGBTQ peoples?

BC: “Don’t stop! Saturate the night with beards, beer and LOVE!”

After getting to know these bearded ladies a little better, I was interested to see what some of the more established queens in Houston thought about this new wave of drag queens who were getting so much attention. I sat down with Houstons very own, Dessie Love Blake and Cyn City to get the 411.

DESSIE LOVE BLAKE

About Dessie

SJ: Who was the first bearded drag queen you ever saw live and what were your initial thoughts?

DLB: Blackberri and Klonopin Kardashian. I was very intrigued and open to the idea. I was excited to see a new twist to the art form. Blackberri is a genius on stage. She has a way of drawing you in even in the simplest ways. That is a true entertainer, beard or not.

SJ: The winner of Dessie’s Drag Race Season 8 was a bearded drag queen. Since you don’t choose the winner alone, what were your thoughts and did you think she would have a successful show?

DLB: I fell in love with Blackberri instantly. I knew she had the charisma, stage presence and talent to go a long way. I didn’t know if she would win in the end but she did with a UNANIMOUS vote! She now has a full time gig every Tuesday night at Michael’s Outpost and I see no signs of it slowing down. I will note that she is the FIRST drag race winner to have her show make it past the allotted trial period they are offered when they win.

SJ: Lastly, do you have any last thoughts for bearded drag queens both local and afar?

DLB: “I would say this just like the Queens, Kings and Male Entertainers, you have to pave your own road. If they come to the stage polished, well rehearsed and professional, I believe the sky is the limit. I do believe that they can’t always be about the “in your face, hairy, half naked comedy. It can work on occasion but to be constantly booked and remain relevant, they will have to be multi dimensional as most good entertainers are.”

CYN CITY

About Cyn

SJ: Who was the first drag queen you ever saw live and what were your initial thoughts?

CC: “Blackberri was the first bearded queen I ever saw live and she has been giving me life ever since that day. It took me a second to take it all in at first though. When I hear the word “drag” I think of men impersonating women. So to see someone in hyper feminine make-up and a full beard really caught me off guard. After about 30 seconds of her performance, I was hooked!”

SJ: Do you feel like bearded drag queens have a place here in the Houston drag scene?

CC: “I don’t feel as though they have a place in the scene, but they are definitely making a place for themselves in the Houston drag scene.”

SJ: Lastly, do you have any last words for bearded queens both near and afar?

CC: “I would definitely tell all bearded queens to KEEP BEING SICKENING! You have chosen an aesthetic that makes people look twice and really open their minds to how they view drag. You have an opportunity to change drag as we know it and take it to a realm that is fantasy, fierce and FUN! Keep being true to yourself and showcasing your art.”

I think it is fair to say that no matter how we saw things before, that is all changing whether we are ready or not. Life and drag are similar in that we all have an opportunity to create the world we live in. We can live our truth and people will either accept or not. To my furry friends who are just starting out in drag or have been doing it for some time now, I am here for it! And it appears everyone else is as well.

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