Help me start a drag storytelling workshop series

Photo by Jesus Boscan

The Context

Drag is having a moment and has cemented itself into the fabric of our pop culture and entertainment industry thanks to shows like VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race and HBO’s We’re Here. Drag’s new platform has given it a tremendous voice, shedding light on the struggles of queer and trans people and allowing queer/trans artists to have a large-scale platform and social climbing. However, with the mainstream commercialization of such a radical form of expression, its roots have been watered down. Drag has stepped away from its political roots in favor of fame and fortune, becoming more palatable to the western gaze.

At the same time, we see a rise to a right-wing movement intent on eliminating trans and queer identities from existence. The state of our government is encouraging capitalist, evangelical, and white supremacist values that have already subjugated, shamed, alienated, shunned, and judged queer identities for daring to exist and express themselves in a way that goes against the grain of their moral norms. More and more states are attempting to criminalize drag performers out of their livelihood.

Our voice and bodily autonomy have been stripped repeatedly from us. However, drag has allowed me to reclaim my voice and step back into my power. Drag has allowed me to own my story and take up space. Drag has allowed me to imagine new worlds of how I want to exist with myself and others.

The Project
As part of the work I am doing with Voice of Purpose and their research initiative, the Catalyst Incubator, I am developing an 8-week-long program to serve five artists in my community who wish to explore or implement drag into their creative practices. My hope with this program is to help other queer and trans individuals to unleash their creativity and power in a way that allows them to take back their voice and share what they have to say. Everybody has a story that is just waiting to be told. I hope to use drag as a vehicle for storytelling and world-building.

In this workshop series, I will teach participants the basics of storytelling and performance, world-building, character creation, and makeup basics to create their own unique and powerful drag personas. This program aims to empower queer and trans individuals to own their stories with confidence and autonomy in a way that will grant them the tools to continue their healing and creative journeys.

This is where I need YOUR help! Running a free program is not cheap, especially since I am trying to make my digital program as accessible as possible, which includes access to a drag essentials makeup kit. I will also be producing a showcase as a culmination of all the work we did over the eight weeks and want to provide a drag performance stipend to the participants. I value creative labor and creation, so I believe ALL artists deserve compensation, whether veteran performers or still finding their footing as baby drag artists.

Money raised will go towards:
  • makeup kits for each participant.
  • Tech support for our digital showcase stream at the end of the program.
  • Performance stipends to close out our showcase.

My approaches are grounded in centering community knowledge and mentorship, collective liberation, spiritual foundations, and iterative and reflexive processes. We will create intentional space to spotlight BIPOC voices & experiences in an inclusive and accessible environment.

My mission with this program is to reclaim drag as a political praxis, spiritual tool, and healing modality in a communal space.
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Brian Nunez
Chicago, IL

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