Words: Steve Brown
A drag collective featuring queens and kings with Down Syndrome were kicked out of an American venue because a the venue owner didn’t think the performers gave their ‘full and informed consent’.
The collective known as Drag Syndrome - who starred as Attitude's cover stars for our 25 cover specials - features an inspiring bunch of people who host drag performances around the world.
And while they were preparing to put on a show at an ArtPrize Project 1 venue – which was organised by DisArt – the group were forced to pull out after the venue owner Peter Meijer was concerned about the vulnerability of the performers.
In a letter posted onto DisArt’s Facebook page, Meijer said: “The differently abled are among the most special souls in our community, and I believe they, like children and other vulnerable populations, should be protected.
“Artistic expression is inherently political, and in making this decision I approached the issue from a content neutral basis.
“Setting aside the content, the involvement of individuals whose ability to act of their own volition is unclear raises serious ethical concerns that I cannot reconcile.
“I cannot know, and neither can an audience, whether the individuals performing for Drag Syndrome are giving, or are in a position to give, their full and informed consent.”
Now, performer Justin Bond has taken to Instagram to hit back at Meijer and powerfully opened up about why they love being a drag king.
In the video, Justin says: “Being with Drag Syndrome has been one crazy ride and I’ve always wanted to become a famous drag king.
“I don’t want people in America to think that Daniel is abusing us. He’s trying to help us become more famous as we all are.
“And I think it’s great what he’s doing. He’s doing a wonderful job supporting us and building us up to become famous drag kings, queens and kings.
“And it feels great to do that. I just wanna live my life as a drag king. And also, I’ve been a drag queen.
“Being a drag king is what I wanna do for a living and I know most Americans think it’s terrible.
“’You have Down Syndrome. You don’t have what it takes’. But I think we do have what it takes because we deserve the right to be in drag and to perform.”
Watch the video below: