A Nottingham Drag Queen is saying the city has a lot to offer in giving people the opportunity to experience drag.
In a response to dividing societies, Nottingham’s queer community are coming together in an attempt to display self expression in the form of glitz and glam.
“There is a significant lack of devoted queer spaces leading to members of the community curating their own safe spaces”
Cherry Bomb, drag queen with Haus of dread
Drag acts are making a name for themselves by performing small gigs to support the LGBTQIA+ community in a nightlife setting, one where they would usually feel harassed and segregated.
Nottingham’s drag scene has surged with shows being put on regularly nearly every week.
Chelcie Gascoigne, also known as Cherry Bomb is a performer with Nottingham based drag and performance art collective called Haus of Dread.
In her interview, Chelcie credited DirtFilthySexy as one of the biggest names in the community and said: “creating a safe space is always at the forefront of their events”.
The shows put on by the collective provide an opportunity for queer individuals to express themselves in a non-judgemental and supporting setting with no prejudice.
It allows members to dress up however and how freely they want, identifying as whatever they want as well as hosting unisex toilets to ensure all attendees are comfortable in the settings.
In response to how she got into drag, she said:”I started exploring performance art in my third year at university. It was a strong medium to challenge gender conventions and a cathartic way of expressing my identity.”
As well as this, she took inspiration from members at DirtyFilthySexy as they were originally one of the only collectives local to the area.
‘Cherry Bomb’ described how being a drag performer makes her feel: “It turns attributes of my identity as an AFAB (assigned female at birth) that are often associated with shame into strength.”
She also spoke of how the drag scene has developed in Nottingham, providing a safe haven for like-minded queer individuals in the area.
Talking about the city, she adds: “There is a significant lack of devoted queer spaces leading to members of the community curating their own safe spaces.”
She highlighted that although she feels empowered, walking through the streets alone in drag can often result in harassment.
Cherry Bomb explained how a man shouted expletives at her saying: “What is that?”
She also expressed how certain venues and events often aren’t providing a safety net for the community which means members have to “grow a thick skin for themselves”.
she added: it’s been down to a lot of the members of the community to manifest their own
In a response to recent conflict regarding the female symbol being removed off certain sanitary products, she explains how it proves there’s still a stigma around it as “it sent everybody mental”.
Always recently removed the symbol to represent inclusivity for transgender and non-binary individuals who do not identify as women, but still use their products.
Full distribution of the new packaging is expected by February 2020 with production starting in December 2019.
The forward-facing move was a controversial one however with many females taking to twitter to highlight how they feel they have been ‘erased’.
I’m finding it shocking how many people have decided to get angry about this. What they have removed is the female symbol from the inner packaging. Non-binary and trans people have periods too and using the female exclusive symbol can understandably make them feel uncomfortable. https://t.co/k74xIjG4cJ
— 👑𝙑𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙖 𝘽𝙖𝙧𝙗𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙖🦄 (@rosievaccib) October 22, 2019
Chelcie said: “Even though it was a positive move, the negative backlash that it has induced caused more divide than it has brought people together.”
“I think it’s important that people understand that womanhood in general has not been undermined by accommodating for the needs of trans people.”
A common misconception about drag performers is that they can only be male due to media coverage of the community.
In a response to this Cherry Bomb says that drag is no longer about expressing yourself as the opposite sex, rather showing a stronger version of yourself.
“It’s not about comedy anymore, it’s about empowerment”.
The growth in popularity across the nation and the world has come after the airing of the game show RuPaul’s Drag Race which shows drag queens battle to win title of best drag queen as well as a 100,000 cash prize.