The 10 Percent: Drag queens entertain, support communities

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RuPaul. LadyBunny.

The names are infamous in the drag community. They are drag queens with long histories in performance.

These “queens” are on television regularly. Their performances teach future generations of drag performers, particularly through popular television shows such as RuPaul’s “Drag Race” and RuPaul’s “Drag U.”

But there are many more drag queens making a difference in local communities, including Stockton. These “queens” are setting precedent in the community and building solid foundations for current and future performers.

Every other Thursday, the Paradise Club in North Stockton puts on a drag show. The show is called the “Eves of Paradise.”

The performers range from the seasoned with flawless looks to the novices.

Knowing the queens that perform in the “Eves of Paradise” show has made me embrace my drag persona more.

Within a few weeks, I will be one of the queens walking out of the house in full drag.

My friends want me to join them in attending the show in drag. I have only done drag once, last Halloween, but I loved it. I am in the process of getting the essential items a queen needs: make-up, clothes, hair and shoes.

As I take this step to become a member of the drag community, I wonder what drag has done to contribute to the LGBTQ+ community. Yes, a drag queen helped to start the Christopher Street revolution at the Stonewall Bar in New York. Yes, a drag queen has been on national television for years now.

That all aside, what have drag queens done to better the LGBTQ+ community?

I have thought about this multiple times and asked friends about this.

I know through experiences that most drag shows are in part for a charitable cause, such as the Imperial San Joaquin Delta Empire Christmas Drag show, where the queens give part of their tip money to the AIDS Foundation.

My drag “mother,” who has been dressing up and performing for more than 30 years, has told me drag queens may come off as egotistical, self-centered people but she has never seen anyone else give more of their time, money and knowledge to other people.

She is a living example of this, having taught the basics of drag to over 20 up and coming queens.

For me, drag is empowering. When I think of a drag queen, I see a person of strength — a person that embraces the diverse and one who strives to change people’s opinions of individual differences.

When I step out the door in full drag, I hope I can live up to that standard and help make the world more accepting of all people, while having a blast and giving people a good show.