Drag queen Bonnie Ann Clyde talks to DCU

Gabija Gataveckaite

Drag is a great way to push a message, drag queen Bonnie Ann Clyde told DCU students last Monday.

Clyde stated that drag performers have been leaders of political movements, unknowing to themselves.

“The star of the Marriage Equality referendum was undoubtedly Panti Bliss after her Abbey Theatre speech. She became a poster-child of the Vote Yes side, even if she didn’t want to be,” said Clyde.

“Drag queens should absolutely participate in activism, do charity and help the community,” she added. “Otherwise there’s no point.”

The talk was hosted as a collaboration between DCU’s LGBTA and Style societies. Clyde, a former communications student in DCU, was invited to speak about her personal style and its evolution through drag. She previously came second in DCU’s Drag Race and now performs in The George.

Speaking of the hit TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, she claimed that it’s perception of drag culture ‘annoyed’ her. “People only see drag on Drag Race, which annoys me. Mainstream drag has almost restricted it to what is seen on the show.

“It’s strange to think of the different attitudes towards drag. Queens were never as special as they are now. Fans put them on a pedestal when they’re just like any other queen performing in The George,” she said.

With past contestants from the show now working with designers such as Marc Jacobs, Moschino and Marco Marco, the fashion industry has found a place for drag performers.

“Drag has had its biggest impact in fashion where clothes are losing their gender labels. Clothes aren’t just for men only or women only anymore.

“I think that drag is heading to fashion. RuPaul’s Drag Race sees its main influence to be fashion editorials, which is where drag is heading in general. Its heading towards complete femininity on one side and eccentric makeup is that is not necessarily feminine anymore on the other,” she added.

Bonnie Ann Clyde gave the talk in DCU’s Henry Grattan and recalled fondly of her time in the university as a student – she remembered hosting a drag workshop wearing a ‘cheap wig’. “I thought I was great in my ill-fitting shoes,” Clyde laughed.

By Gabija Gataveckaite

Image Credit: Gabija Gataveckaite