Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022
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Drag

The Politics Of Two Attires And Flamboyant Drag Queens

In India, drag culture is slowly becoming a medium to express personal politics

Artwork by Anwesh Kumar Sahoo

At one o’clock at Kitty Su, an LGBTQIA+ friendly nightclub on the 28th floor of the luxury Lalit Hotel in Delhi, the night was animated. Commemorating the fourth anniversary of dec­riminalisation of Section 377 of the IPC, the club was hosting a queer bash and a drag show. The disco lights in the otherwise dimly lit club danced in a frenzy, and so did the partying queer folk on the floor. Everything in the hall—hips, arms, feet, bod­ies, lights, and music—danced to a universal rhythm that bounced and oscillated unabashedly like subatomic particles running berserk in every possible direction, creating a miasma of colours and bodies. Drag shows are celebratory congregations, often hosted by nightclubs. Although its main purpose is entertainment, it is also used as self-expression and a celebration of LGBTQIA+ pride. A typical drag show includes, a drag queen with elabor­ate attire, hair and makeup, lip-syncing or dancing to pop numbers.

Although the flamboyantly dressed queer crowd at Kitty Su looked committed to merrymaking, they were eagerly waiting for the queens, and especially the performance of Lush Monsoon. When she appeared, Monsoon wore glittering makeup, a kimono-like dress, a big shimada-like wig, a pair of fancy eyeglasses, and carried a Japanese mai-­ougi hand-fan. As Monsoon entered, her kimono sleeves fluttered, and a slew of camerapersons with their heavy equipment followed her trail, all of them jostling through the cro­­wd. Teya, a drag queen, donning a silver-blonde wig, who had already tak­en the stage, made an announcement requesting the guests to assemble. The crowd obliged. “It’s a commemoration of our freedom, my fri­e­nds,” she spoke into the microphone with gusto, as the cro­wd roared in excitement. “Four years ago, the fan­gs of Section 377 were clawed out! This night is for the celebration folks, let’s dance to death!”

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