Asian-American Drag Queens & Kings Celebrate Queer Identity | Iris

published on July 2, 2020

we're here we're queer we're Asian and

we are glamorous a lot of people

question if I'm really a man like they'd

have to do a double take my a man or my

woman this is my idea of femininity

this is my idea glamour my drag it's not

just gender bending its culture bending


hi my name is Emma grade and I am also

known as the social justice warrior

princess my name Emma grade comes from

the word emigrate I am originally from

Mandalay Burma or Myanmar when you think

of Asia and you think Chinese Japanese

is Asian I myself am Southeast Asian so

I'm trying to bring everybody together

so that we have an audience that can see

there is more to us there are more

members of the community I started this

because there are a lot of us Asian drag

kings and queens but we don't get to

work together a lot and when we are on

stage sometimes we tend to lean back on

stereotypes for approval and for

accessibility so I perform as Wang

Newton that's w ang Wang is a really

cheeky character who's a host and a bit

of a troublemaker Wang's Taiwanese

American and of course I'm Taiwanese

American – Wang can run around and flirt

with the ladies and do all this cheesy


I didn't expect to be doing drag it

actually was a Halloween costume it did

it because it was a calling I've never

had a stronger gut feeling then when I

was dresses Wang for asian-americans it

feels like it's still a traditional kind

of culture

I actually never heard it barely a

single positive story of coming out

there's always rejection

misunderstanding for my own background

our family have been told that it's

traced back a thousand years and those

traditions are expected to carry on

it was hard coming out because it seemed

like oh well you know that's where the

family stops right there I was actually

okay with lying I just thought it was

something that I was willing to do to

not go through the pain of coming out

when I first came out they had a

completely different understanding of

gender and sexuality and we didn't see

eye to eye they came to the us and

they got to see me do a show and I

actually have a little video of my

father taking a nihilist rib of me

performing drag i feel the site it's my

bold way of being myself

my way of saying okay this is enough and

i am unapologetically me drag is a big

way of feeling you know laughter is the

best medicine we have stories that we

haven't been able to share with the

public with our families with each other

and that kind of sharing and human


look closer there's more than meets the



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