To drag, thank you for making me love what I see in the mirror
Through a course called “Humanities 1: Art, Man, and Society” back in my third year in college, I came out as bisexual in front of my block mates.
I did it through a collage of photographs, depicting how I can never find love regardless of gender, as the two people I was pining for at that time had their own love lives, leaving me with nothing but to dwell on my role as a hopeless romantic.
When our professor, poet and performance artist Nerisa del Carmen Guevara, asked me to explain my “self-portrait” in front of the entire class, I had chills. It would be my first time coming out to a huge group, my first “public announcement” of my sexuality, so to speak.
In the midst of my explanation, I uttered the words “bisexual ako” before letting out a huge sigh of relief. I no longer cared what people might possibly think of my sexuality. I was blissful that I can finally be honest with who I really am.
Finally coming to terms with who I am in terms of my sexuality, I thought I was on that road to self-care. As I got to explore more of who I am, however, I became obsessed with giving my 100% attention to people who do not really care about me. I had this notion that being out and about with my identity will give me a chance to be in someone’s arms.
My hopeless romantic persona took over even after I graduated college. I entered dating apps and went to high-end clubs thinking someone would sweep me off my feet just by merely existing, virtually or physically. Of course, that never worked, as I was merely setting myself up for disappointment, reinforcing my act of questioning my existence and my worthiness of being loved.
Yet, one day, something sparked within me. I looked at a video I took during a fun time I had in an LGBTQ+ club in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. It was a performance of a drag queen named Viñas Deluxe lip-syncing to “Don’t Rain On My Parade” by Barbra Streisand.
I was captivated by her performance, especially the way she lip-synced the house down and how she had everyone’s jaws dropping with her classy moves.
Her performance moved me to finally have the time to catch up on the phenomenon called “RuPaul’s Drag Race” that everyone has been raving about. And after religiously watching its first 4 seasons, I thought to myself that I might try drag as a hobby.
I searched every online tutorial I could find for makeup and styling tips, and because of the pandemic, I had more time to practice. Thus, Anita Good Lovin’ was born, ready to slay.
Each time I finish painting my face, putting on a gown I bought online, and wearing a beautifully-made lace-front wig, I look in the mirror and think to myself that I’m finally seeing someone that can love me the most: myself, only more fiercely-looking.
Donning a black, red, or blue dress, planting a silver, blonde, or ginger wig on my head, I, as Anita, confidently strutted in my size 12 pumps, walked around the house and asked my mother to photograph me. I pose glamorously in front of the camera, feeling my old Hollywood fantasy with every flash.
Because of my newfound art form, I have been loving what I have been seeing in the mirror, and when I wipe away the makeup and take off the wig, the love for the person in the reflection remains.
It’s like drag has taught me how to be confident with myself, sans the gown, wig and pumps. It gave me the power to be who I want to be once again, this time without caring for what other people think.
My confidence and self-love had me putting my focus in this art form, which led me to the community of local drag.
It all started when I went back to the LGBTQ+ club I mentioned before. It was February 2020, and I came dressed as Anita Good Lovin’. I caught the attention of the local drag performers there like Eva Le Queen, Maniqueen and Marina Summers, and I felt honored to strike even the simplest conversation with them about drag.
After that night, I followed them in their respective social media accounts and discovered that there is a plethora of local drag performers and rising newcomers that I can interact and support online, who I can grow with and learn from.
Then, the pandemic happened. I saw jobs and businesses affected by it, even the local drag performers I looked up to.
Yet that did not stop them. All of them took it virtually, performing in their own homes via live streams to make ends meet. A group of drag queens called Drag Playhouse PH even started to hold online drag parties for every drag performer to enjoy in this time of hardship. These local drag artists truly are one of the prime examples of never giving up despite the uncertainties.
These local drag performers continue to be my inspiration for loving myself. I see them working hard just to entertain their audiences without sacrificing their authenticity, their self-care, and their love for the art. I aspire to be like them someday.
Now, I simply prance in my home, continuing to love who I am by posting my authentic art form on my drag social media account. But soon, just like these queens who came before me, I will be able to share the confidence and self-love I have with the world, entertaining them by doing what I love the most.
To drag and all the artists behind it, thank you. Without you, I would have never loved the person I see in the mirror. I would have remained on the brink of ending life, had I not stumbled upon you.
Drag is my savior, and I hope we do everything we can to keep it alive. Let us continue to thrive doing our passion, as it is what we love doing the most.
Drag, you pulled me out of the rubble, and there is nowhere else to go but up.
Adam Laurena is a writer and an aspiring drag queen who dreams of performing on the big stage as his drag persona Anita Good Lovin’. He loves to glam it up for the camera and enjoy the brief moments he is in drag. He looks up to international drag queens Adore Delano, Alyssa Edwards, BenDelaCreme and Manila Luzon, as well as local drag queens Eva Le Queen, Viñas Deluxe, Marina Summers and Brigiding, among others. His biggest dream is to combine his love for writing and drag by writing a novel, short story or screenplay about local drag queens.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.