Two years ago, Dalton Jay did his makeup, put on a wig and fell in love with the world of drag.
In today’s world, drag queens are often confused with people who are transgender.
Jay is a locally-known drag queen, and performs in local shows as Faye Shull. He says that drag is a form of expression, whereas transgender is someone who believes that they were born in the wrong body.
“There is such a huge difference between being trans and being a drag queen,” Jay said. “A transgender person is someone who wants to change their gender, often because they’re believed to be born in the wrong body. At the end of the day I still want to be a male, but it’s fun to be someone else, to put yourself in a different body and to be a whole other person.
“Being a queen is all about entertainment.”
Emmett Downey is a transgender male from central Newfoundland, who started his medical transition from female to male last year.
“It was something that I’d more or less known since I was a child,” he said when asked about his experiences as a transgender male. “But I can’t really complain. My family and friends accept that this is who I am.”
Downey has been struggling with gender dysphoria for years, and says that his experiences haven’t been bad or hateful – they’re more of an internal battle.
“When it comes to drag queens, drag is a costume. It’s a character created and acted out rather than it being the person themselves,” Downey said.
Gender dysphoria refers to the dysphoria a person experiences when their gender assigned at birth does not correlate with their gender identity.
Jay and Downey are opposites – one being a drag queen and one transgender, but they both agree on what the difference between the two is, and how much both are stereotyped and misunderstood.
“A transgender person is still themselves, just undergoing social, and usually medical, transition,” Downey said. “Drag is just a persona.”
Jay said people simply don’t understand the differences.
“It is a very big stereotype that if you do drag, you’re automatically gay or trans,” Jay said. “But you know what? Some of our best local queens are actually heterosexual and in very happy relationships. I think what people don’t realize is that anyone can do this. It’s just something to do for fun.”