Jetting to Bangkok by Jett Joans

Thailand is often cited as one of the epicenter’s of South East Asia and has transformed a generation of drag artists and performers championing the art of Drag. Drag culture in the Thai capital can be described as hot spot for drag enthusiasts and gender non-conformists. In a country that legally recognises a third gender the Thai Drag Queens act as standard bearers of a proud tradition of gender fluidity.

Shade, lip-syncing and fierce queens were all prominent in the Thai capital while boldly challenging gender roles and assumptions. It is important to note that being a Drag Queen does not determine your gender; as you can be a transgender woman/man, straight man or a biological woman performing and participating in drag. It is not restricted to gay men. Various performers in Thailand would generally be considered transgender due to their feminizing/feminised aesthetic.

A LGBT hot spot in Thailand is a bar named DJ Station, located in Bangkok. Vaguely recognisable in an alley dedicated to LGBT nightlife. DJ station is made up of 3 levels with the dance floor and stage in the center. To my surprise a drag show had begun and I was amazed by all 5 of the drag artist’s performances. Each Lip-syncing for their lives to a variety of popular classics. Liza Minelli, Bonnie Tyler and Mariah Carey were all in attendance, energising the audience. Of course I had to go back to DJ Station in full geish and experience the complete drag fantasy at DJ Station. A 6’2 bearded blonde Drag Queen wearing a headpiece was not to be missed.

It is drag performers that serve as a reminder of the importance drag has played and still plays in LGBT acceptance and awareness. It creates much needed visibility within a community that
desperately needs it.

In Patong, Phuket I attended another Drag show (it was actually 5) in an entire street dedicated to LGBT bars and clubs. Two bars offered free drag performances twice a night with each bar allocating its own unique performers. A treat for any drag enthusiast. Beyonce seemed to be the popular song choice. It seems Queen B remains a constant favourite among Drag performers. Beautiful transgender woman and performers lit up the stage and dazzled their audiences. The show had it all: diva’s, dancing and the occasional nip slip.

All in all I attended 7 drag shows containing 15 unique performers and was left in awe. The Queens in Thailand have re-energised my own personal Drag persona and reminded me of the influential power of Drag.

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