Queer Voices

October 18th Queer Voices

October 18, 2023 Queer Voices
October 18th Queer Voices
Queer Voices
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Queer Voices
October 18th Queer Voices
Oct 18, 2023
Queer Voices

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Co-Host Wendy Taylor has an interview with Galveston based musician and voice over artist, Ladybird.  Ladybird opened up about how her upcoming album, "A Pay to Play World," serves as her therapeutic outlet to manage chronic pain, trauma, and her interaction with luxury medical treatment in America. She shared her journey from the studio to the world through Twitch, where she's been able to build connections and express her music.

Guest: Ladybird
https://www.ladybird-uke.com/


Then, Wendy Taylor has an interview with some of Houston's Drag Kings.  We step into the vibrant, often underrepresented, sphere of drag kings with Houston's ground-breaking performers. One of our guests detailed their rise from self-taught YouTube sessions to establishing themselves as the first recognized drag king in Houston's queer scene. Another compelling narrative emerged as we discussed the creation of boot camps as a way to give back, mentor younger performers, and foster community growth. Our guests,  elved into their experiences, the hurdles they've had to overcome, and the strides they've made in creating inclusive spaces for drag kings.

Guests:  Ian Syder-Blake, Sir Debonaire and Preston Steam
https://htxqee.com/camp-and-events

Queer Voices airs in Houston Texas on 90.1FM KPFT and is heard as a podcast here. Queer Voices hopes to entertain as well as illuminate LGBTQ issues in Houston and beyond. Check out our socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/QueerVoicesKPFT/ and
https://www.instagram.com/queervoices90.1kpft/

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Co-Host Wendy Taylor has an interview with Galveston based musician and voice over artist, Ladybird.  Ladybird opened up about how her upcoming album, "A Pay to Play World," serves as her therapeutic outlet to manage chronic pain, trauma, and her interaction with luxury medical treatment in America. She shared her journey from the studio to the world through Twitch, where she's been able to build connections and express her music.

Guest: Ladybird
https://www.ladybird-uke.com/


Then, Wendy Taylor has an interview with some of Houston's Drag Kings.  We step into the vibrant, often underrepresented, sphere of drag kings with Houston's ground-breaking performers. One of our guests detailed their rise from self-taught YouTube sessions to establishing themselves as the first recognized drag king in Houston's queer scene. Another compelling narrative emerged as we discussed the creation of boot camps as a way to give back, mentor younger performers, and foster community growth. Our guests,  elved into their experiences, the hurdles they've had to overcome, and the strides they've made in creating inclusive spaces for drag kings.

Guests:  Ian Syder-Blake, Sir Debonaire and Preston Steam
https://htxqee.com/camp-and-events

Queer Voices airs in Houston Texas on 90.1FM KPFT and is heard as a podcast here. Queer Voices hopes to entertain as well as illuminate LGBTQ issues in Houston and beyond. Check out our socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/QueerVoicesKPFT/ and
https://www.instagram.com/queervoices90.1kpft/

Speaker 1:

Hello everybody, this is Queer Voices, a home-produced podcast that has grown out of a radio show that's been on the air in Houston, texas, for several decades. This week, wendy Taylor talks with local music producer Lady Bird about her upcoming album release.

Ladybird:

I have a lot of trauma in my life. I've been through just about all the terrible things that can happen to somebody, and I currently suffer from a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. So I actually use songwriting as a coping mechanism to process my feelings and figure out what to do with them.

Speaker 1:

Then Wendy has a feature length discussion with three local drag kings about performing in male drag.

SIr Debonaire:

Although all drag is valid, nothing against any type of performer. There is the old traditional how do you pass that? I really take to heart in my drag. Some numbers I won't do, some outfits I won't do because they will break my illusion. And that's what's really important, especially in being one of the more distinguished drag kings.

Speaker 1:

And we have news wrap from this Way Out Queer Voices starts now.

Wendy Taylor:

I am Wendy Taylor. Today, my guest is Lady Bird, a local singer-songwriter and voice actor out of Galveston Texas. Hi, lady Bird, how are you today?

Ladybird:

Hi Harry, I'm okay.

Wendy Taylor:

It's good to have you on the show Today. I wanted to have you on so that we could talk about your music. I understand you have an album coming out soon.

Ladybird:

I do it. Releases September 15th.

Wendy Taylor:

What's your musical style like?

Ladybird:

So I'm a really strange version of like alternative indie singer-songwriter. It's pretty much like bedroom pop, but like with ukulele.

Wendy Taylor:

I found your music to be expressive, joyful and also melancholic. Can you talk about the inspiration behind some of your songs and what made you want to make this album?

Ladybird:

I have a lot of trauma in my life. I've been through just about all the terrible things that can happen to somebody and I currently suffer from a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. So I actually use songwriting as a coping mechanism to like process my feelings and figure out what to do with them.

Wendy Taylor:

Something that's really common among a lot of artists is expressing their emotions and giving a place to cope for their audience as well. Can you talk about your song allergies?

Ladybird:

All of my songs started just being really sad and like minor chords and dark and stuff. So I was like I should probably write something that sounds a little happier. So my friend actually sent me this poem and I loved it and so I adapted it into a song and I gave it this just really warm feeling. It talks about blue bonnet and stuff and the song can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. So it can be interpreted as a love letter. It can be interpreted as this person is repelling me and making me sneeze.

Wendy Taylor:

I found it to be one of the most adorable songs I've ever seen performed. How many tracks are going to be on your album and what is your album titled?

Ladybird:

So it is eight tracks. They're in an order in a way, so it's like a happy song, a more melancholy song, and then it's yeah, so it's eight tracks. It's called a pay to play world because I got COVID in 2020 and I almost died and I was at the decision of writing my will and planning my funeral. The fact that it was either die alone at home in my apartment because I can't afford to go to the ER, or the hospital bill and it was kind of a do I pay to live or do I die alone.

Ladybird:

So I wrote a song and I titled the album a pay to play world because I mean, even video games are to this commercialism state where it's a pay to win. You win if you give the most money to a thing, and that is just kind of how I felt through all of my horrible three years of suffering. It's just a medical treatment is a luxury, having teeth is a luxury, having benefits and a job is a luxury in America, and so I titled the album a pay to play world for that reason.

Wendy Taylor:

When can we expect your music?

Ladybird:

I'm actually a really tedious organizer in my life. The album comes out September 15th, but I have three singles coming out bi-weekly before that, as kind of a hoot and holler and before it all comes out. So allergies will come out August 4th and then she's gone, will come out August 18th, and then scarred lips will come out September 1st and then the whole thing will come out September 15th.

Wendy Taylor:

How can we find you if we want to listen to your music?

Ladybird:

I have a lot of stuff on YouTube. I have a lot of stuff on SoundCloud. You can find me at Ladybird underscore yoke on just about everything, but I have a website at ladybird-yookcom, but I also do content creation, so you can find me all over YouTube at the same username. You have to force it to find me, though, because auto corrects, but, yes, ladybird underscore yoke, so it's UKE short for ukulele.

Wendy Taylor:

You talk about your streaming platform. Can you tell me about how long you've been streaming on Twitch and what that's like?

Ladybird:

I actually am a content creator and streamer on Twitch because, with my body giving out, it kind of was like okay, what do I do? How can I survive and be able to do anything at all? So I found streaming. Because of the initial shutdown before I got sick, everyone kind of turned to watching streamers like Gameplay and stuff, and before I got sick I was singing and performing on Facebook on my personal page, and then I was like, wow, I could really do this so that people can find my music and it helped me just express myself and you know it's better than practicing alone in your room or just doing open mics. So I started streaming on Twitch and I've been doing it for over two years now. But I was doing it a little bit like between that because I had a normal job and I was doing all the things. But now I stream every single week, forever and ever and ever. But I do music on Mondays and I play games on weekends.

Wendy Taylor:

Is there anywhere people can go find you to see your perform?

Ladybird:

If you follow me on my social medias, I post my schedule every weekend so you can know where to find me, whether it be locally or online. So if you can't make it out to a performance, it's super easy to find me. I'm on twitchtv slash, ladybird, underscore, uke, and on Mondays you can literally ask me to play a song. There's a fun way, there's a website. You know, you clicky-clacky and I see requests and I play it for you. It's super cute, but yeah, so it's easy to find me online. And then, if you want to find me in person, I perform on the Strand in Galveston and other local places like that.

Wendy Taylor:

I noticed you were performing at some farmers markets. You were also featured as an LGBTQIA plus identifying artist for a music series in Galveston.

Ladybird:

Yes, so during Pride Month I got invited to perform at a brewery in celebration of that, you know, bringing attention to you. Know we're not gay for only June, we're gay all of the years, all of the times and all of the years. But yeah, so I was featured as an artist because I identify as a pansexual, asexual, polyamorous, practicing person. Alliteration, y'all. Yeah so I love alliteration, it's so fun, okay, anyway. So yeah so I perform there. I perform at farmers markets a lot. It just kind of fits the vibe. And you know I do some night stuff at bars every so often, just depending on what's going on.

Wendy Taylor:

What does the future hold for Lady Bird?

Ladybird:

I have no idea, but in reality yes. So I will forever be doing like content creation music. I'm excited that once this album comes out which we'll be doing a very exclusive, limited vinyl release in case anyone's interested. It's quite fun. It has an exclusive cover on the vinyl and the cover on the digital releases looks different, so keep your peepers peeped for that. But I'm excited to have this album done because that means I can move on and start another super depressing album. Because let me tell ya, just when you think things won't get worse, they sure do. So I have lots of new subject material to write about.

Wendy Taylor:

Is there anything else you would like us to know about Lady Bird?

Ladybird:

Music transcends time. The way you look, the way you are, it can transcend everything. The fact that people can listen to stuff from the 50s right now on Spotify blows my mind, so the fact that I can be a part of that is just really cool. And you know, I didn't have a lot of validation, so my goal is to validate others, and so we feel less alone, because I felt isolated and alone my whole life. But yeah, I just. I'm here for the people in the back. I'm here for other people who are disabled, because we sure are here. This month is also disability pride month and not a lot of people see us because the world isn't very accessible. So I just want to represent those people like myself and more than just the LGBT. But you know, we're here, we're queer and we're drinking beer.

Wendy Taylor:

We're listening to Queer Voices. I'm Wendy Paylor. We have been speaking with Lady Bird, a local singer, songwriter and content creator out of Galveston, texas. Lady Bird, thank you so much for coming on the show and talking about your art.

Ladybird:

That was wonderful. Thank you so much for having me.

Deborah Moncrief Bell:

This radio program we Are Voices has existed since the 1970s. On KPFT we have this little crew of folks working every week to produce what's no longer unique because we're almost mainstream now, but we're still an important voice that might not otherwise get heard because it's not on that many places. So KPFT is very important to give voices to those who might not otherwise have voices. So, as Glenn always says, you participate by listening. You should also participate by supporting the station. So please go to kptorg and make your donation right away.

Wendy Taylor:

I'm Wendy Taylor. Today I'm speaking with three of Houston's well-known drag kings. We have Houston's drag dad, ian Cider Blake. We have the dashing sir debonair and we also have Preston Steamed, who is self-described as a little bit spooky, a little bit filthy and a little bit stupid. Today I wanted to briefly talk to each of you about your drag and how your current legislation in Texas has become known as the drag band has affected each of you. Tell us a little bit about your drag, ian. How did you get your name?

Speaker 8:

when I first was introduced to the drag in general, I really did have a very unique and interesting perspective coming into the community. My name was one that I had toyed around with in my head for quite a few years, as far as you know, considering my own gender identity, trying to find out who I truly was, and Ian came from that. As far as my last name, cider, that was kind of adopted as a way to make a pun out of the name, and if you slow it down a little bit, ian Cider, it really does become that I was adopted as a Blake not long after I began my drag career, about nine months and approximately, and there in the pond was lost. Unfortunately it was. It was quite an interesting little journey to find that name and I do know that when people were referring to me by it, something just clicked. So it became a name that I kept, not only in drag but outside as well sir debonair.

Wendy Taylor:

How did you get named, sir debonair?

SIr Debonaire:

I think it's interesting a lot of Kings we use puns for our names. We're really intelligent performers. I wanted to project something that was suave and smooth and cool. Like my uncles and my dad and my grandpa and my family, it's generational that we're suave and debonair. So when I checked out the source or different words online, debonair popped up and it just rang. They used to call me Devin as my first name and air as my last name. I was like no, no, no, no, no, it's one word. So I added an honorific, which I think is like historical, so like in royal monarchy, if you will. So now I'm sir yes, I bring to it. So sir is now my first name actually and debonair my last name. That's kind of evolved a bit. And the people who joined my house which is heaven on earth, or the whole squad they are now debonair instead of being host, because that doesn't have to say ring to it.

Wendy Taylor:

That's funny Preston steamed. How did you come up with your name?

Preston Steam:

So it's interesting because Preston seemed to, was not originally my drag name when I first started. I started under the name of Earl Grey, the T of Houston, but I didn't know there was another Earl Grey in LA who was like a very well established king. So then when I had to change it it was actually my boyfriend at the time who came up with Preston steamed, which was really great because like my whole like original aesthetic was very like steampunk, so it kind of fit the vibe. It was between that or Edgar Allen Ho that I came up with. I literally did a Facebook poll for the two and Preston won by like two votes. So I've been Preston steamed ever since.

Wendy Taylor:

That's oh. I wish I had been around for that vote. I may have made it one away. That's really funny. Ian, I wanted to talk to you about being Houston's drag dad. I wanted to talk to you about how you became known kind of as Houston's drag dad, and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about your boot camp.

Speaker 8:

I'm so glad that you asked that. It's something that you know. I really do take the title of Houston's drag dad as such an honor, because it is. It has become not just a moniker for me but really a big part of my life and my personality and my persona.

Speaker 8:

When I first started performing as a drag king, there were very few of us and the majority of people who did perform as drag kings really would kind of come and go. They would pop ups for radically, they would attend one show or two shows here and there, and I did become the first drag king to truly establish himself in the Houston market and there wasn't anyone that was able to teach me. There were no legends for me to look up to. All of the information I found was online through YouTube videos and Google, and at the time that wasn't even as prominent as it is today. So I made it my mission after a couple of years to really get out there and bring as many people to the stage as I possibly could, because I was lonely, I felt singled out and I felt very, very bereft of company and people who could identify with me as a person who was assigned female at birth and at the time, I was still living as a woman. It really did become something that I desperately needed in dressing rooms and in shows. So I started the boot camps, and boot camps started out as drag king boot camp, and it was all of the lessons that I had learned the hard way, because I didn't have anyone to truly teach me. I had to figure things out on my own and I wanted to pass those lessons on so that no one would have the same issues that I had when getting started.

Speaker 8:

And then, when I did get my first long-term show, I decided to develop audition nights to create performers out of the audience and bring them onto the stage.

Speaker 8:

Rather than putting myself on a pedestal and holding myself aloof from my audience, I wanted to be approachable. I wanted people to look at me and think to themselves wow, I could do that too. Because it's true, drag truly is for everyone, regardless of gender identity, sexuality or any other feature. It just kind of grew from that and, as queer children, when we grow up, we are so often left outside of our own family units and our biological families do not support us the way we should, and I have learned so many very, very hard lessons about life as the same as I did about drag, and it's very natural for me to pass those lessons on how to establish credit, how to change a tire, and that's when people begin to truly see me as more of a father figure and started calling me dad, whether or not they were my official children, and I, to this day, could not think of a single thing that I'm prouder of in my drag career. You know, it's either all of those things or the fact that I'm just older than everybody else.

Wendy Taylor:

I feel that way. Sometimes, too, people call me mom and I'm like is that really something I should be happy about? Be calm, but I thank you so much for what you do for our Gabies. I love what you contribute to our community. I think it's important to have a drag dad around. I would like to talk to Sir Debonaire. Now you are currently a, you hold more than one title, am I correct? Yes, so tell us about your titles. And you're also working towards another title as well, aren't you?

SIr Debonaire:

Yes, I am Following up on Ian's message earlier. He is actually my drag father and my drag deity, and what you have done for me, ian, and I tell him often because he and Julie of Pearl Bar saw something in me early in my career and have really the thing that he was talking about seeing someone and taking them out the audience and giving them tools absolutely 100%, 1000%. That's what they do, and so I just want to say that.

Wendy Taylor:

But I definitely thank thank Ian and Pearl Bar for the support of the drag drag King community, because they are the reason that it has built to the level that it is.

SIr Debonaire:

But modeling certain things. After kind of the legacy that he's left, I actually have kind of followed in the footsteps, and one of them is he actually has helped mentor me to Mr Texas, the US of A MI classic. So in the US of A system they have MI, which is male illusion, and male illusion classic, which means we're 33 and above. I'm just above, just above these knees would say otherwise, but just oh yeah.

Wendy Taylor:

What was your experience like going through the pageant system?

SIr Debonaire:

Well, the other title I hold is National Snoking. So, on the National Snoking, I represent Texas as Mr Texas, us of A and in my classic, and will be competing for nationals in October. It was me being I don't like to use the word perfectionist because I know how that is like, impossible to achieve, but being up in who takes on something new and like, jumps into it and like, becomes a, like, a curator of the craft. You tell me don't break illusion. Don't break illusion. You tell me, you know contours supposed to be like this, and so in pageantry it's another level to the bar scene or to bar competitions, of the way you walk, the way you dress, how you present yourself, which is right in alignment with how I do drag in the first place. So it's a really nice challenge to step up the illusion game a whole nother notch for me and then be rewarded for the hard work you're putting into the illusion.

SIr Debonaire:

Although all drag is valid, nothing against any type of performer. There is the old traditional how do you pass? That I really take to heart in my drag. Some numbers I won't do, some outfits I won't do because they will break my illusion, and that's what's really important, especially in being one of the more distinguished drag kings, I want to bring forth that old school flair of like mastering the illusion and I think that helps with bridging the gap between Queens and Kings and sometimes the mixes that we are respecting the craft of the illusion and so pageantry you get points for this, you get points deducted for this. It can be very nitpicky and, depending on, like how you do with your mental health, it can like break you if you allow it to, and I have to. My friend had to remind me like this is supposed to be fun.

Wendy Taylor:

Yes now. Mental health is incredibly important to you as your day job, and I've noticed that you use your titles to help with mental health issues within our community as well. I look forward to seeing you take that crown in Nationals. I appreciate that. Now, preston steamed, we've recently discovered some fantastic news with your latest promotion.

Preston Steam:

Yes, I'm so glad you asked. So I recently became the show director for the Sunday slot at barcode. So I now produce a show called the queer cabaret every other Sunday at barcode and like everything I'm building with it because I'm making it a variety show. So like the whole goal with this show is to showcase a little bit of like everything. Like I've got your classic, traditional, more like pageantry dancing girls, but then I've got like alternative entertainers, I've got burlesque live kings, queens, monsters, like everything you could possibly want, and then I always try and spotlight and showcase new up and coming entertainers and how I want to talk to you a little bit about what it's like to be an alternative king.

Wendy Taylor:

Can you tell us a little bit about what that means and what that includes for me?

Preston Steam:

It was. My drag was all about kind of embracing more of like the darker, spooky, horror side of things. Because, like, when I first got into drag I was, you know I thought drag had to be just like one thing you had to be pretty, you had to like pass, you had to be glamour, you had to do the gowns and all this stuff. And then when I discovered like the alternative side of drag, I was like, oh, I don't have to be pretty, I can just be a monster. So I feel like my entire like persona around, like Preston is a vampire, like I am this whole little glamorous creature of the night, but also like spooky.

Preston Steam:

And I really enjoy blurring the lines of gender a lot because while I do traditionally present more male in my drag, I like to very much blur that line and kind of go back and forth between, like hyper mask and hyperfin and like right in between. But it's been interesting being an alternative performer because it's because alternative is a lot of times and a lot of different like scenes very underrepresented in the drag scene and especially in places where like more I guess, if you will, traditional drag is like more popular, sometimes you have to fight a little bit harder for recognition and for the same kind of space. And a lot of times I feel like a lot of us alternative entertainers kind of end up having to like carve out our own space because people don't always like to let us. And that's sort of what I've been trying to do with. Like my shows is showing that like alternative drag is just as valuable as you know the pretty side of drag.

Wendy Taylor:

Sure, and actually one of the reasons why I wanted to have the three of you on today is because you all three represent such different styles of drag in the drag king community. The drag king community I find to be very underrepresented very often in our community. However, it has grown substantially over the last couple of years, much thanks to a lot of the boot camps and the bars being more open after successive pearl bar to allowing drag kings on to their drag stages. I wanted to talk to each of you a little bit about a point that Sir Deb and air just recently raised about the differences between being a drag king and a drag queen. Ian, what do you think would be the biggest difference between a king and queen, despite the obvious that?

Speaker 8:

is a fantastic point, because my answer likely differs from most others. There is no difference between us. Many queens pad, many kings pad. Many queens wear wigs. So do kings.

Speaker 8:

Everything across the board that a drag queen does, we do. The primary difference between us is that we do not separate based on what you have in your pants. We include everyone, no matter how they present, no matter how they identify. Everyone is included and all drag is valid. If you are on my stage and you are performing or identify as a male, you are a king, no matter what you started out as. That, for me, is the only real difference. Everything else is the same. We wear the same makeup costumes. We perform the same way. That is why I have fought so hard to make sure that kings get more of a prominent place on stage and visibility, especially in Houston. We don't actually have any facts to back that up. Once we get on stage, they see that we are really just the same. We are just entertainers. That is why we are able to have so many more open spaces to us.

Wendy Taylor:

Thank you, ian. Sir Devinair, what are your thoughts?

SIr Debonaire:

I don't know if I should wait until we get to the events part. I have so much. When I talked about taking things seriously as a drag parent I take my job as a drag parent very seriously as well. I created some spaces of my own to not only have a stage. I am promoting for a large event. I have two shows. I am a show director of two shows. One is at the side bar at Pearl and the other is at Grand Prize Bar in Houston. I was just saying that for my first show. It is called Hoes Heaven on Earth Show. It is mainly drag kings. I mean 99%. When I was doing marketing for my next event.

SIr Debonaire:

It is hard to put queens I don't have my own pictures of queens because I don't really put a lot of queens on my show. To make sure, I put a lot of prominent on drag kings, but also POC performers as well. Grand Prize Bar is like a mixed bag more than anything else, but the larger event is called Crown Delusions. It is a drag summit or a drag convention where I pinpointed a lot of these things that we are talking about and getting some of the veterans in Houston and throughout the country to come in and basically do our own drag convention where we have vendors, we have classes. Ian is instrumental in helping me with developing the classes but as well as the next level of pageantry as well, like Ian, getting started, especially as a POC performer.

SIr Debonaire:

There is not a lot of people I can look up to for makeup or the type of suits that I like to wear. Because I am old school People like to wear double-breasted suits, ascocks, cravats, tie, tacks and ties Jizzing up as you will. Your outfits and things of that nature are different for me because I don't just throw stones Not that that is anything wrong with that but I want to do something different. So creating a voice for different performers, different makeup artists, different stylists, even dancers. It is hard to find these things, so I wanted to create a place for those type of people so we can create an economic community Not just an event, not just a show, but an economic community where we can build from within.

Wendy Taylor:

Thank you, Sir Devaneer. Preston Steamp. Now I couldn't wait to get to you for this question, because you actually started out as a drag queen, correct? I did. So tell us about the differences between being a drag king and a drag queen.

Preston Steam:

Well, so, honestly, I kind of want to echo a little bit what Ian said, because, truly, at the end of the day, the only real difference between being a king or a queen is whether or not you, as an individual performer, identify yourself as a king, a queen or neither truly, because drag really is an art form and so art is very subjective. So I feel like what is or is not drag is entirely up to the entertainer as a whole. And, like I said, like you said, I did originally start out as a queen and I wanted to be like a little bit more on the femme side of things. But even like when I was doing like my queen drag, it was still very intentional, like blurring of gender lines, like I would shave my face and paint like feminine, but then I would never shave my like body hair, like tuck or anything. I'd be, like you know, very like gender chaotic with it. And then I started performing more as a king and that was kind of what got booked is just because, like because I got started at Pearl, at the audition nights and so I mean was the one who put me on stage as a king in the first place and it just took off from there.

Preston Steam:

But so, like now, well, I do still identify as a drag king. As I mentioned earlier, my drag is very fluid and I've sort of combined like the queen aspect into the king aspect and a lot of ways, like there's a lot of times like I'll still like won't shave or anything, but I'll still like block my brows and do like a very like feminine mug and do like a very like more like femme and drodges glamour moment. And there's this thing I like to do where, like I'll start one at the beginning of the show, I'll do like a boy number and then I'll go back, say, throw a dress on and then come out into a girl number. So, even though I do still get to mess up the king, I'm kind of all over the place.

Wendy Taylor:

That's really fun and something that I actually enjoy about your performance is very much. I never know what to expect and, on this same vein, I wanted to ask each of you have you experienced any prejudice in the community because you are a drag king performer?

Speaker 8:

Ian, unfortunately, constantly. It's something that we experience on a daily basis. On a daily basis, a regular basis, Because I have been actively medically transitioning since mid-2014,. I do walk through the world as a man and people don't look twice at me. They don't really question my gender identity or really anything beyond that. I appear as the man that I identify as. But once you step into a queer space, it is almost always exclusively male dominated. There is a patriarchy that exists that affects all aspects of our society and when people see me, come in and they realize that because I am very prominently outwardly trans and they question my role in the space, they question my almost my permission to be there.

Speaker 8:

I've had people it is rare, but I have had a map drag queens actually question whether or not I am in the right place when I am in my dressing room at my show, and that's something that I experienced across the board. It was one of the things that drove me to keep going when I had so many people telling me that, oh, it's cute, you have this hobby, but it'll never take off or, unfortunately, audiences don't wanna see drag kings, they're so boring. Every time I was shot down. Every time I was told no, every time I was scoffed at or openly made fun of in dressing rooms. It made me keep going. It gave me the passion and the drive to prove them wrong.

Speaker 8:

But to this day, even though I hesitate to say it because it sounds a little bougie to be honest, but I am a household name in Houston and I will walk into a dressing room at a show that I'm booked at and we'll have some random assigned male at birth drag queen. Who are you? You don't belong back here. Because they make that assumption that if you don't look like them, perform like them, act like them, talk and walk like them, that you don't belong. And I will continue fighting that battle as long as I've got breath in my body and I will continue teaching others to fight that battle, but always from a place of professionalism, kindness and love first, because when we put that into the world, they have no choice but to either return in kind or to look really, really bad at the end of the day, and I'm not opposed to making people look bad or acting bad.

Wendy Taylor:

All right, Sir Devaner, how about you? Have you experienced any prejudice for being a drag king?

SIr Debonaire:

I think it's interesting because I don't know what I don't know, even though I've been performing for about three and a half years now two and a half years, one or the other. I don't know what I don't know. For instance, when I first got started, I believe it was like maybe my second, maybe even my debut show. I came out, like Preston spoke of, as a king. I didn't transition to a queen, but I am a mixer more than anything else. Now that I'm understanding what that is, I'm gender fluid and non-binary, which is on the other side of the slash that doesn't get talked about often, and getting the language together for these events, I'm like OK, I don't want to offend, I definitely want to include, and so I had.

SIr Debonaire:

I came out in a King Alpha I think it did Sean Paul or something and then transitioned to Victoria Monet wearing lingerie, and I was like, oh my gosh, I can't believe you came out, and most people it takes them time to be OK and be comfortable with switching.

SIr Debonaire:

I'm like, oh, for real, I didn't know, I just had this song and that was awesome. I think I'm sexy and I think they like it. So I think people actually do hate on me about thinking I'm being given things that other people aren't, and privilege, and I'm like please don't talk to me about privilege. Like I'm up till 2, 3 o'clock in the morning trying to make things happen and I have mentorship around me, but I don't know what I don't know about. I do understand there's like a not being masculine enough thing that I get sometimes like especially if we're in competition with queens, that they say something like oh, oh, you just switched to being a femme. I'm like, no, I just walked across the stage and I kind of switched sometimes because I have a lot of booty, you know like come on.

Wendy Taylor:

Preston, how about you?

Preston Steam:

Obviously I experience it a little bit differently because out of drag I am aces male, so in a lot of spaces that does give me a certain degree of privilege. But I have also even encountered prejudice against my drag for that. And in the sense of like sometimes with some of the older performers who have this very binary view of drag that if you're a man you're dressing as a woman, you're a woman you're dressing as a man, and they see me a man doing male drag and then they act like I'm not doing drag because I'm a man and it's like baby. I'm wearing just as much makeup, if not more, than you are, so please don't. And it's definitely been interesting, especially as an alternative king. I've definitely experienced the alternative side of the prejudice of where, if you don't sit into that whole standard of being like, oh well, you have to look a certain way, you're a king, you have to do Bruno Mars, you have to look super masculine, all this, that and the other.

Preston Steam:

And it's interesting because I travel a lot, so something I have encountered as I travel a lot of people have this tendency to pit drag kings against each other.

Preston Steam:

Because I've encountered several times where I'm obviously at this point as a season performer. So then I'll go into a show and do what I do and I'll be booked with a lot of newer performers who are just starting out, haven't had the same kind of opportunities yet, and I'll always get queens coming up to me and being like, oh, you're so much better than our kings here. You actually try, you don't put this effort in, and I'm like you were comparing me to someone who's been doing drag for six months. How is that even fair? Are you giving them any opportunity to perform? And it's just like I feel like there's that constant comparison of kings at least that I've encountered where it's like if they see you on a higher level of someone, they use that to put down someone else. And it's just like you should be providing a space for people to grow, to be able to get to that next level, because I've been doing this for a while and I've had to claw my way to where I am.

Wendy Taylor:

The last thing I wanted to talk to you all about, which I find to be one of the most important things, is Senate Bill 12, which restricts sexually-oriented performances and has been criticized for limiting public drag performances in Texas. That went into effect September 1. Now I wanted to ask each of you how this is affecting your work as a drag king, Ian.

Speaker 8:

Well, just to start, Senate Bill 12 did not take effect September 1. It is currently under a restraining order by a state judge and we are so grateful for the work that the ACLU and the HRC have done, along with countless other individual citizens who are fighting back against this. So luckily, we do not have these bills that affect right now and we are hoping that they do not take effect at any point in the future. It is an ongoing battle that we will all continue to fight in our own way.

Speaker 8:

The follow-up to that, as far as Senate Bill 12 goes, is it affects us in the biggest way. It directly hits our ability to make money. It goes so far beyond the artistry of it in our freedom of speech, but it is directly taking away our ability to survive, to live and in an economy, especially in a state like Texas, which is one of the more expensive ones, with the least health care, the least mental health care, the least assistance programs. We didn't buy into the Medicaid expansion and there are so many different issues here, but when you take away a person's ability to make money but then come back at them with we'll just pick yourself up by the bootstraps. That phrase literally means it's an impossibility and it cannot be done, but they use it in a way that accuses us of not doing enough. And it goes even farther than that, and this is something I don't think people realize. But, Wendy, let me ask you a quick question. Do you know what a powder puff game is?

Wendy Taylor:

Yes, I do.

Speaker 8:

Yes, I do.

Wendy Taylor:

The football played by all women.

Speaker 8:

Exactly, but it's very specifically when young women, especially in high school or early college years, dress as football players, take on a masculine persona and have a charity type football game, usually around homecoming, that, under S Well, is an illegal act performed in front of children. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders would not be able to perform if there was the ability for a child to see that act. And even at a 21 and up venue, an adult-only venue, regardless of the time of day or night, if your act is visible from a sidewalk, even if you are singing gospel songs and you are cross-dressing, it is an illegal act that could potentially be viewed by a child. Therefore, the venue, the owner of the venue and the individual performer will all be fined and potentially imprisoned. But go even further than that. Right now we have people who, if they are leaving a bar at 3 AM and pee on the side of a wall, they can be registered as a sex offender. So let's just consider that all people who would wear a manner of clothing or a style of dress that is not considered consistent with the traditional gender roles is now breaking the law and could be fined and imprisoned.

Speaker 8:

This is absolutely what happened when the horrific mustache man decided to take over Europe. He did exactly these things in the exact same way the laws and everything else. This is fascism at its core. They are doing everything they can to stifle us because we aren't like them and they are terrified of us. But they are the ones with bad actors and their attacks against us are simply an attempt to cover up their own crimes. Look at all of the people who have taken horrific, abusive actions towards children over the past year. I want you to find me one drag queen one.

Wendy Taylor:

Thank you, Ian.

SIr Debonaire:

Sir Devin here. I don't know a lot of the legal implications of it, as my pops does, but the intersection of being a woman, non-binary, clear black and now a drag performer in Texas it's heavy To feel already like I don't belong, to feel like I am wrong in existence, in the way that I exist, on so many different levels. It's like the second. You got to the top of the barrel. They start putting sand on top, the blows from the abortion rules and the things that are happening where they're trying to control our bodies and now the way we dress, the way we perform, the way we make money. On so many levels. I'm just like the country, the world just feels like it's going backwards and it's very frustrating because it's like a landslide that you cannot control.

SIr Debonaire:

And as a mental health advocate, on the other side we're literally having sessions about anxiety around things of this nature. You're creating more of the problems of what we're trying to create solutions to on so many different levels that I have to have these conversations. So for myself it's very difficult to be like, oh, everything's going to be all right Of course we never say that but to have the thought of how so many boulders are being placed on top. And then they tell you the whole boot straps conversation about just work harder is just work harder, just to get equity feels so impossible in this country.

SIr Debonaire:

But nonetheless, texas is feeling less and less and less welcoming to live here. I used to have a saying like I'm Texan born and raised. I love Texas but Texas does not love me and sometimes it feels like an abusive relationship to live here to have so many laws and rules and old school like just walking down the street not being sure, like walking into a gay bar is one thing, but as a black queer Amazon, walking into a gay bar it could be just as scary as walking into Cracker Barrel for a person like me. And then now, on top of that, we're weaponizing the government, we're weaponizing police force in order to like now these things are illegal, just the way we exist. And how do you know what is my drag versus how I exist in life?

SIr Debonaire:

Because I wear my drag, I love my suits and I have to time up to all my stuff and drag cleaning because I love the way I dress, regardless if I'm in or out. So where does the line happen on how you can determine? Like, how can you even enforce a law like this?

Preston Steam:

Like I'm really baffled by All right, preston, I do want to clarify because I did go to like a town hall so I have more up-to-date knowledge on the bill. They did remove the version that passed that is currently blocked. They did remove this specific wording that specifically said clothing the opposite of the gender at birth. They removed that, but basically what they replaced it with was just Prosthetics and they left the wording incredibly vague, which is honestly scarier because there's no clear Definition of what this is or isn't and it could almost basically be up to the discretion of the one trying to enforce it. So all you need is one homophobic, transphobic cop and you're screwed.

Preston Steam:

Basically, which is the scariest part of all of this and I definitely want to echo what debonair was saying is like it just serves to be Super alienating because, like the venues I work at are all 21 up, they don't really have none of our shows are out in the patio.

Preston Steam:

So for the most part, my job will not be deeply affected by this, but it just serves to alienate our community as a whole, like debonair was saying.

Preston Steam:

Like I've born and raised in Texas as well, but I don't really want to live here anymore Like it's just making me want to leave, and I think Something that not a lot of people, especially conservatives, talk about with these bills and this whole intent of like oh well, we're trying to protect the children all these kinds of things are doing is directly alienating queer youth, and you're trying to take away spaces where queer youth have to see other and a positive light, and I think I speak for Most of us that we need those, and a lot of us never had those Growing up, and if we did, it would have made a lot of difference.

Preston Steam:

And so for us to be able to have things like that, like track wean, story hour and just all ages family-friendly Brunches where a queer kid can go and see someone, like themselves and you know, like, see themselves in someone and have some kind of Hope, and now it's like, the more these kind of legislations pass, all it does is tell these kids that there's something wrong with them, and that goes right into what debonair was dealing with with, like with mental health and counseling is it's just Creating such a sense of hopelessness, not for already, for those of us working in the street, but for kids growing up right now.

Speaker 8:

Preston is a hundred percent right that they removed the word drag, but the current text of legislation I encourage all Texans and all people to read this says a male performer Exhibiting as a female or a female performer exhibiting as a male who uses clothing, makeup or similar physical Markers, who sings, lip-sync, dances or otherwise performs, and it becomes a class, a misdemeanor, and that is the law that did pass that we are currently fighting back against. So, at the end of the day, either whether you're on stage or off, this affects all people across the board.

Wendy Taylor:

Really quickly. I would like each of you to tell us how we can find you and where you're performing.

Speaker 8:

Ian, I Can be found just about everywhere all over the place supporting all of the amazing drag babies in Houston. But you can find me on Facebook at Ian cider, s-y-d-e-r Blake. Instagram is Ian underscore. Cider spelled the same. But, more importantly, I have a website and there's this huge conglomeration of Events and things open for queer people in general, not just drag and if you find my website there you can find information about all of the shows, that all things are doing across the city. We promote other shows as well, as you know Camping events and things like that, because my goal is to not only extend drag to people of all backgrounds, types and gender identities, but for the greater queer community as well, to allow us some cohesion and Ability to come together but also to have a little bit of fun. So y'all get to the website and come and see all the things, because Preston and debonair are regularly at my weekly show anyway, so it's a fun time.

Wendy Taylor:

Fantastic. All right, sir debonair.

SIr Debonaire:

Yes on IG sir Niko and I, ko debonair I am performing, actually, with Preston, who don't have me have the date, as well as H Sun King's. My shows are normally on the third and fourth Thursday, but you can follow me to get those at grand prize bar or at sidebar. But most importantly to me right now is crowned illusions With an scom, which is a drag summit. For what? Entertainers summit for burlesque, as well as All types of drag, both drag kings and drag queens, a two-day event and the second and sorry mixers as well. And the second day is a day fit for a king, specific to male leads and drag kings.

SIr Debonaire:

Like I said, we have events. We're talking about mental health. We have the Texas civil rights projects that will be explaining and doing a K and Q&A for SB 12. We have demos that are going to be there. You can bring in your, your drag, your makeup, and they can give you a short you know this would look good on you, or here's how to do that thing. And the most important is, we're bringing in show directors from around the state For showcase. So people who are newcomers, people who normally are having a hard time getting in touch with directors, getting an opportunity to do a two-minute number and then network throughout the day. And lastly, a pageant 101 and having pageant winners to do networking with people who want to learn the ins and outs of pageant. So crowned Illusions, comms were dropping at this week and it's in November, so look forward to building community as well as a financial community through that. Thank you.

Wendy Taylor:

Thank you, sir Devon. Air, all right, preston steamed. Where can they find you?

Preston Steam:

You can find me on Instagram at Preston steamed, underscore VAV, and on tiktok at Preston steamed. You can catch me co-hosting every First Wednesday at barcode for curious honeys, and then every three months I take over that night and produce a show called the cabinet of curiosity. You can catch me every sec every other Sunday at barcode hosting the queer cabaret, houston's newest variety show.

Wendy Taylor:

Thank you, preston. You are listening to queer voices. This is Wendy Taylor and you've been listening to my fabulous guests Ian Cider, blake, sir debonair and Preston steamed three notable drag kings and personas in the gayber hood here in Houston. Thank you for joining us.

Speaker 8:

It was an honor. Thank you so much, wendy. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for allowing us to talk to me about our important items part of our queer voices community listens on KPFT, which is a nonprofit community radio station, and as such, kpft does not endorse our hold any Standing on matters of politics. If you would like equal airtime to represent an alternative point of view, please contact us through KPFT org or our own website at queervoicesorg. This is queer voices.

Speaker 11:

I'm Joe Bainline and I'm Tonya Kane Perry with news wrap. A summary of some of the news in, or affecting LGBTQ communities around the world for the week ending October 14th 2023. Bulgarian punk music star Melina Slavova is not guilty of discrimination for a social media post that became a far-right anti-queer viral sensation. The Supreme Court ruled this week that Slavova's criticism of a Sophia LGBTQ pride march was not intended to harm the dignity of any specific person because of their sexual orientation. Her 2021 Facebook post said poor us, normal people are already suffocating from the brazenness and flaunting of various perverts, and I don't apologize for my words. A discrimination complaint against the singer was a crime of sexual orientation.

Speaker 11:

The European Commission for Protection Against Discrimination had already ruled that Slavova was entitled to express what it deemed her personal opinion. Three Bulgarian Supreme Court magistrates agreed, according to the news site Yurokteef. As their ruling explained, slavova's opinion was not intended to harm the dignity of any specific person. The European Commission for Protection Against Discrimination had already ruled that Slavova was entitled to express what it deemed her personal opinion. As their ruling explained, slavova does not have official public authority, nor does she seek to acquire one, which would allow her to impose her opinion on the regulation of public relations, including holding LGBTQ parades. It's been a roller coaster for queer rights in the Balkan nation in recent years. Courts have rejected trans people's efforts to change gender on their legal documents after reassignment surgery. On the other hand, in July, parliament added sexual orientation to the protected classes for hate crimes cases under the criminal code. Still in September, the European Court of Human Rights found Bulgaria's government in violation of European laws that required legal recognition for same gender couples.

Speaker 12:

A failed presidential candidate in France has been fined for condemning lesbian parenthood. Erich Zimour ran a fowl of the country's hate crime laws. During a nationally televised 2019 interview, lesbian couples and single women had just been granted access to artificial insemination and other fertility treatments. Zimour ranted this is about the whims of a tiny minority that controls the government and enslaves it for its own benefit and is going to disintegrate society because we will have children without a father. It's a catastrophe. And secondly, who is going to force all the other French people to pay for these whims? The offensive diatrib was quoted by LGBTQ Nation. The court decided the comments present a contemptuous image of the people they target, whose desire to have a child is reduced to a selfish whim. In this way, gay people find themselves denigrated in the eyes of the public because of who they are. Zemore was fined 4,000 euros, about 4,200 US dollars, along with the director of the interview program. He was also ordered to pay 3,000 euros to several LGBTQ organizations, plus 2,000 euros in legal costs. He's appealing the ruling. The French advocacy group Stop Homophobe filed the successful lawsuit against the far-right pundit and politician.

Speaker 12:

Zemore ran for president last year on an anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant platform that also included blatantly anti-queer rhetoric, he claimed 7% of the first round vote. Ultimately, emmanuel Macron was re-elected. Zemore's words habitually land him on the wrong side of the law. He was sued last year by six queer rights groups for his book denying that LGBTQ people were among the victims of the Holocaust. He's been convicted twice for hate speech. According to the Guardian, he's appealing a third conviction handed down last year. All his 2022 presidential campaign got him was a copyright infringement conviction for using unauthorized film clips and newsreels. Zemore has compared transgender students advocating for rights to Nazis and condemned queer propaganda. He called a women's right to choose collective suicide.

Speaker 11:

In the US Northwest Spokane. Washington's Odyssey youth movement has been vandalized four times in less than a month. Odyssey tries to provide a safe space for the area's LGBTQ young people with several outreach and support programs. It began in late September when a rainbow-colored footpath in front of the building was spray painted with offensive graffiti. It's not known if the same vandals hit the facility three consecutive nights last week. This time, the rainbow footpath and the building signage were covered with paint and tar and anti-queer slurs were spray painted on the doors and windows. A neighbor's rainbow pride flag was torn down. Executive director Ian Sullivan told local TV station KHQ about the impact of the crime spree.

Speaker 10:

After we had cleaned up Odyssey's building and our sign, they spray painted hateful words, words meant to divide, to make people feel unwelcome, to make people feel afraid. The fact that this has happened now three nights in a row, and that it's these three nights happen less than a month after the explosion, I think it's a great opportunity to see the initial vandalism as well. This is a pattern, this is repeat, which is very intimidating to say the least, and terrifying to say the most.

Speaker 11:

Spokane police officials are calling on citizens to contact them with any information that could help track down and prosecute the perpetrators.

Speaker 12:

Read me a story. Stella Tells the tale of Stella and her brother, sam. Too bad, the author's name is so gay Marie Louise Gay. That is that's why the Huntsville, madison County Public Library in Madison, alabama, banned it. The picture book is written and illustrated for kids age five and younger. It wound up on the library's list of books pulled from the children's section because a rudimentary keyword check for sexually explicit content flagged the word gay.

Speaker 12:

Kirsten Brassard speaks for Groundwood Books, gay's publisher. She told the online news outlet ALcom, although it is obviously laughable that our picture book shows up on their list of censored books simply because the author's last name is gay, the ridiculousness of that fact should not detract from the seriousness of the situation. Brassard called the absurd classification a hateful message in a place like a public library, where all children are meant to feel safe and where their curiosity about the world is meant to be nurtured. The library's executive director, cindy Hewitt, confirmed that the book has been moved back to the children's section. She told ALcom. Obviously we're not going to touch that book for any reason.

Speaker 11:

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis saw a three-judge panel of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals refuse to allow his state's drag show ban to be enforced. This week the fading Republican presidential hopeful's challenge to District Judge Gregory Pranell's injunction was flattened by a two-to-one majority of the generally right-leaning appeals court. Pranell had declared the ban on family-friendly drag performances a violation of First Amendment free speech rights. Federal courts in Tennessee and Texas have ruled similar drag bans unconstitutional. The panel sided with the Orlando location of Hamburger Marys, the restaurant chain that hosts popular and usually sold out drag brunches every week. The law levied substantial fines on venues hosting performances involving so-called sexual content with minors in the audience. Critics claim that its vague wording could be used to ban any costumed stage show. Even cheerleading Judge Pranell wrote protecting the right to freedom of speech is the epitome of acting in the public interest.

Speaker 12:

Finally, the Australian state of New South Wales hosted its own drag story time on October 6th in the Parliament building's theaterette. Sydney-based drag stars Cassandra the Queen and Woody the Cowboy read from the children's book about a non-binary child my Shadow is Purple. Cassandra was delighted by the success of the event, posting on social media. It creates an environment for kids and parents to have the usual story time with a little extra glitter, color and fun. It also allows children to explore the concept of creativity, artistry and self-expression. Best-selling Melbourne-based author Scott Stewart's book encourages kids to be true to themselves and accept who they are. In Cobb County, georgia, usa, reading my Shadow is Purple to her due west elementary fifth grade class got teacher Katie Rinderly fired in June. Why, to start with it begins my dad has a shadow that's blue as a berry and my mom's is as pink as a blossoming cherry. There's only those choices a two or a one. But mine is quite different it's both and it's none.

Speaker 11:

That's News Wrap, global Queer News with Attitude for the week ending October 14th 2023. Follow the news in your area and around the world and form community is a strong community.

Speaker 12:

News Wrap is written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle, produced by Brian Jashazer and brought to you by you.

Speaker 11:

Thank you. Help keep us in ears around the world at thiswayoutorg, where you can also read the text of this newscast and much more. For this Way Out, I'm Joe Bainline.

Speaker 12:

Stay Healthy and I'm Tanya Caneperi, stay Safe.

Speaker 1:

This has been Queer Voices, which is now a home-produced podcast and available from several podcasting sources. Check our webpage QueerVoicesorg. For more information. Queer Voices executive producer is Brian LaVinca. Andrew Edmanson and Deborah Moncrief Bell are frequent contributors. The News Wrap segment is part of another podcast called this Way Out, which is produced in Los Angeles.

Glenn Holt:

Some of the material in this program has been edited to improve clarity and runtime. This program does not endorse any political views or animal species. Views, opinions and endorsements are those of the participants and the organizations they represent. In case of death, please discontinue, use and discard the remaining product.

Speaker 1:

For Queer Voices. I'm Glenn Holt.

Lady Bird
Pioneering Drag Kings and Diverse Styles
Exploring Drag Kings and Gender Identity
Drag Kings' Challenges in Texas
Anti-LGBTQ Legislation
Legal Battles and LGBTQ Rights
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