Drag Kids is a heartwarming documentary film following the lives of 4 kids from Canada, Europe, and the United States who have a love for dressing up and performing in drag. Makeup, wigs, costumes and heels, they love it all, and are supported by their parents, as well as the LGBTQI+ community in which they perform at local events.
First, we meet Laddy Gaga (Stephan Hirst), a Lady Gaga tribute act living in the UK. Now 8, Stephan dresses in drag and sings Gaga songs live! Stephan‘s mother helps him plan his performances and gigs and addresses in documentary about the general public hearing the word ‘drag’ and connecting the word with sexuality. Explaining that ‘drag’ is about expression and art, she speaks of adults asking her, “Is he gay?” about her son. “How the hell does he know? Whether he’s gay straight or in-between, he’s 8, you idiot!” Stephan shares of wanting to meet and other drag kids, so that they can be friends and do drag together.
We next meet Suzan Bee Anthony (Jason Kerr, 9) from the Bible Belt of America, a quiet kid who gets his confidence through drag, his mother and father take him to the local pride march. His older sisters help him with his makeup, and have been since thy were little, using Jason as their dress up doll. Jason‘s father speak of the struggles dealing with comments from other kids, and also the amount of adults who are disapproving and question his motives.
Bracken Hanke (12), a confident young girl also from the U.S. had been told she couldn’t do drag and could only be a ‘drag king’, but didn’t listen to the haters is now a ‘hyper queen’ i.e AFAB (assigned female at birth) who has a female drag persona. Part of a drag ‘Haus’, she plans to attend her first vogue ball with her drag family, but is turned away at the door as it is 18+only event; a struggle many underage kids go through is finding events that are all ages so they can express themselves.
Last, we meet Lactacia (Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden, 9), a boy from Canada city who has made quite a name for himself as a drag kid. First being discovered by RuPaul’s Drag Race winner, Bob the Drag Queen at a local event, Lactacia rose to stardom via social media. He is a feisty kid with a lot of attitude, which he funnels into his drag. The drag kids are all invited to perform together at Montreal Pride, plus meet for the first time. In Drag Kids, we follow their preparations in the lead up, rehearsing group choreography online and then together in a studio with a pro dancer. Not without its up and downs, the kids form a strong bond with each other as you watch their journey to the stage.
My favourite theme of this story is the support and love of each drag kids’ parents; both mother and father supporting them 100% and allowing them to live as their true authentic selves without restriction. The parent and kids are equally as supported by the crowds at Montreal Pride, each parent being brought up on stage to walk the catwalk to huge applause and thanks from the host for allowing their kids to be who they are.
Although there is a lot of backlash and negativity from the general public, these kids and their parents are showing how a positive, open-minded and supportive environment encourages children to express themselves openly, without fear of judgement or ridicule. Eventually growing up into well-rounded, open-minded and accepting adults.
This is how the world should be, and the world is changing, one drag kid at a time.
Drag Kids is screening in Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. For more information, visit: mqff.com.au