community

How does drag shape your identity? Crystal, Vinegar Strokes and Adam All reveal all - WATCH

Three stars reflect on the power of drag ahead of National Student Pride in London this weekend.

2020-02-18

With more seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race airing annually than you can shake a wig at, drag culture is enjoying more attention ever before - as the thousands of people who flocked to last month's first ever DragCon UK demonstrated.

But despite drag's explosion into the mainstream consciousness, the artform remains a vital part of queer protest and performance, ultimately challenging and subverting society's expection of gender norms and sexuality.

Now, three of the UK's leading drag stars - Drag Race UK's Crystal and Vinegar Strokes, and drag king Adam All - are serving an important reminder about the power of drag.

In an exclusive video produced by Attitude and National Student Pride, released  ahead of the annual Student Pride festival in London this weekend (21-23 February), the trio reveal how drag has shaped their own identities. 

“Drag has given me access to parts of me that I might never have discovered before,” says Crystal, whose proud display of her body hair on Drag Race UK set her apart from most queens who've appeared in the franchise. 

“Drag really highlights how arbitrary the rules are that society places on gender. Doing drags helps you realise that actually the boundaries between male and female are much less rigid than we would like to believe as a society."

Non-binary drag king Adam All adds that performing in drag helped them come to terms with their own gender identity off=stage.

"Adam is definitely rooted in my understanding of myself", they explain. "I think it's about being able to express a masculinity or male-ness I have natually in myself that I have to damped down to fit in more in society.

"It's about releasing that to its extreme."

They add: "I’ve made some changes this week actually, by deed poll. I’m Mx on everything now."

Vinegar Strokes, who is set to perform during the National Student Pride's daytime festival at the University of Westminster's Marylebone campus on Saturday (22 February), says that drag has had a profound effect on her sense of belonging.

"I think it's definitely given me more confidence to be a queer person", she say. "I'm from a generation where if you were queer, it's a bad thing, if you were gay, it's a bad thing."

Vinegar adds: "It's taken me a long time to go 'Ok, I'm accepting all this, I'm accepting the scene and the community that I'm a part of."

National Student Pride takes place 21-23 February at the University of Westminster Marylebone Campus, G-A-Y Heaven and G-A-Y Late.

For the latest information including the line-up and to get your ticket, click here.