Lifestyle

Malaysian Drag Queens share underground art scene

Bye, Felicia!

The Full Frontal recently uploaded a video interviewing four Malaysia drag queens.

The KL based drag queens shared about their coming out story, drag performance and social stigma in the 15 minute video.

What is drag queen- simplified

Drag is a gender-bending art form in which a person dresses in clothing and makeup meant to exaggerate a specific gender identity, usually of the opposite sex.

Therefore to “do drag” is to perform a caricature of the opposite gender or more simply, cross-dressing.

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Usually represented by men (often gay men or queer men), drag queens dress up in exaggerated women’s attire and make-up to present themselves as women.

Coming Out Story

Malaysia has yet to become a country that publicly accepts the LGBTQ+ community. Regardless, the coming out experience for every queer is different.

Drag queen hellys hot, also a graphic artist's cover works on instagram.
Compiled from @hellys_hot on instagram

@hellys_hot shared that her relationship with her mother changed after she came out, but grew closer to her father.

Conversely, there are parents that do not address the issue directly.

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For example, @Kumela never come out to her parents. Instead, she said that her parents sort of knew.

I know I’m lucky because I know there are a lot of queer people out there who doesn’t have the same reaction, or support and love from their families.

The price of being queer

Discrimination and Safety

@hellys_hot whose drag name is a pun for “hell is hot,” mentioned being rejected by her family due to religion.

I am a sinner, I can’t get away from being gay.

All four Malaysia drag queens admitted to being verbally abused on the streets and at school.

Victims of discrimination, Hellis shared that a Grab driver refused his services to her due to her makeup.

In the video, the drag queens were aware about the inherent risk that comes with being who they are.

Furthermore, Hellis highlighted dire safety issues surrounding the trans community.

Place of Ignorance and Fear

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A snapshot from malaysia based drag queen kumela's instagram
Snapshot from Kumela’s Instagram

Though Hellis understand the root of their hate towards queers, she does not agree with their mentality.

Ultimately, hatred is cultivated from ignorance and fear.

They refuse to understand us because once they see us as human beings, it contradicts with what they believe in.

justacnestar

Doing Drag Underground

According to @itsmissboom, the drag scene in KL is very diverse and accepting.

Everyone is unique in their own way, and everyone is very supportive. It’s truly a community here.

Nevertheless, this scene is still very much underground and people have to “keep it low.” Hellis highlighted that the culture climate in Malaysia is still very ‘difficult’ for drag to be accepted.

“The hardest part of being a drag queen in Malaysia is not feeling safe, not respected, not seen as an equal, or even as a human being,” shared Kumela.

The social stigma surrounding the LGBTQ+ community has made it difficult for drag to be accepted as a form of art.

In the video, @justacnestar said that there is a shared responsibility to speak up for the community.

We have a responsibility to make our voices heard, especially the trans community.

Because these people, they don’t have a choice.

“Beyond heels and makeup”

It takes courage. And I think it takes confidence “yeah, this is what I want to do.”

Miss Boom

Kumela believes drag designed to entertain and uplift others, ultimately “making people feel good and smile.”

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At the end of the video, the drag queens highlighted that queer individuals are just like any ordinary people.

Take an active role in educating yourself about topics and cultures that you may not be familiar with.

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Cover Images via hellyshot, justacnestar, kumelakumslut

Author: AnnaWong
Proofreader: Grace Choong

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