On the 26th of October, 2019 something revolutionary called DragCon happened in the city of Hyderabad. Hyderabad runs on a different beat and rhythm. In most Indian metropolitan cities, there is a strong LGBT+ voice and several platforms that allow for LGBT+ related conversations. But Hyderabad is unlike them. Despite being a quick-paced city with top educational institutes and MNCs, Hyderabad has not come up with a platform of the sort.
And that’s why the 26th of October this year marked one of the biggest pro LGBT+ events! And Hyderabad finally witnessed its first-ever drag show.
According to the website, DragCon is an event similar to Comic-Con. Although it was the first year, it aspires to an annual exhibition of drag cultures. And their aim is to encourage presenters to come together to celebrate drag as an art form.
RuPaul’s DragCon NYC inspired Drag Con Hyderabad.
RuPaul’s Drag-Con is an annual expo of drag culture. New York City saw its first in September 2017. Although, the first-ever DragCon was held in Los Angeles in 2015. Similar to RuPaul’s DragCon, DragCon Hyderbad has a mission
To break the ice about drag culture and bring it into mainstream club culture and encourage youngsters to pursue opportunities in drag we bring Drag Con to Hyderabad. It’s an Indian way of celebrating the diversity of DRAG
What is DRAG and Why DRAG?
DRAG stands for DRess like A Girl. And over recent years, Drag has become more and more popular. Although the art form is more popular within the gay community, Drag is and can be performed by heterosexuals as well. But DragCon Hyderabad reclaimed Drag as the roots of the performance are in India. Hyderabad, as mentioned earlier, is still struggling with embracing LGBT+ and Drag. And this is what made the DragCon a “big leap”.
The website reads,
We want to spread a message that “Humans are Humans” and present drag as a form of art to a mainstream audience and make is as usual as live music.
A team of people, led by Patruni Sastry curated the event in the span of just five days! And everyone was welcome. The tickets were priced at 1000 rupees with a 500 refund. Six main performers strutted on the stage for the event. The drag performers were from the different arena of life. Fashion, art, beauty industry, corporates, journalism and education, the DragCon had it all! The platform allowed people to have a diverse experience with the variety-loaded line up of artists. Artists performed Camp Drag, Tranimal, Androgynous, Clown, Goth, Faux, and Anonymous drag styles.
Returning to the amazing performers of the event. The performers were “Arjun Reddy fame Aditi Mykala, Fashion Icon Taposh Haldar, Beauty stylist Javed (JaVO), performance artist Patruni Chidananda Sastry, Activist, writer, and artist Ashely Tellis, Alex Parish and a surprising Anonymous drag performer.”
All of It and More
Unlike the usual Drag performances, DragCon kicked it up a notch. They heighten the diversity and show off the variety of drag genres. Having performers from different fields provided the event with a wholesomeness. And this cannot be appreciated enough. Like there are different forms of dancing, Drag comes in many shades.
According to the team, there is a range of performative activities that constitute drag. “From the biting cabaret-style, theatrical performance of British drag queen Divine David (David Hoyle) to the purely entertaining (US RuPaul, who, ruefully one has to report, has kinda lost it). Hyderabad’s first drag event will have elements of all these.”
Dragrace has taken different routes all across the globe. From crazy costumes to crazy competitions, media has managed to cover quite a bit of the Drag world. And yet masses are uncomfortable encouraging or witnessing shows live.
The performances usually have a set audience and not more. India is gradually picking up the pace and permitting Drag performances. Especially in elite spaces that are not open to the public. But for people to look at Drag as an art is a difficult perspective. Also, since it does not fit within the heteronormative ways of gender and sex. RuPaul has even mentioned the Drag mocks the heteronormative ideas of gender and sex.
Also Read: The Outsider’s Perspective to Drag
So is it that for Drag to become mainstream, non-heteronomy must replace heteronomy?
Finally, with rejection from many venues with tones of Drago-phobia, DragCon still embarked on its journey in Hyderabad. And the team behind the event deserves some serious credits for it. It all came together with the help of Humans of Nirvana, a community of like-minded friends and Hyderabad drag club. Finally, they cracked the code to a phenomenal show!
The Giant Leap
With this giant leap, one can hope for a few more clubs and platforms to come about. And lead the pearl city towards a pro LGBT+ front. FSOG spoke to the event lead, Patruni Sastry. The insights, the prep, and the magic of drag.
Stay tuned to learn about the turn-out of the event and more directly from the source.