Drag queen dads say dressing up helps them be better parents
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Featured Image Credit: Waylon Werner
Three fathers have spoken out about how their roles as drag queens helps them as parents.
After they started dating in 2011 and got married three years later, drag queens Waylon Werner, 43, and Bradley Bassen, 36 - who perform as Ms. Yuka and Ms. Amanda - knew they both wanted children, but it was 'important' for them not to give up drag.
The couple ultimately decided they could 'do both' - be parents as well as drag queens - and believe their roles as drag queens has resulted in them being better fathers to their son.
Werner explained the pair's eight-year-old son has grown up watching a lot of his fathers' preparation for drag shows firsthand.
Werner told Today: "We've used that in our parenting, like: 'Hey, remember how long it took me to learn x, y, z?'
"We already know it's helping, because he sees that hard work is important and that it actually helps us get over roadblocks or knowledge bumps or, for an eight-year-old, that math is hard."
The biggest lesson the fathers believe they've taught their son? "If you don't see joy, create it."
Another drag queen, Courter Simmons, 44, - who performs using the name Cacophony - views his profession as having provided him with the 'resourcefulness' to adopt a child - particularly poignant given 'some states permit state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place and provide services to children and families, including LGBTQ people and same-sex couples, if doing so conflicts their religious beliefs,' as per the Movement Advancement Project (MAP).
According to MAP, in 2021, there were still 15 states and four territories in the US which don't have 'explicit protections against discrimination in foster care based on sexual orientation or gender identity'.
And in 12 states the 'state permits state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place and provide services to children and families, including LGBTQ people and same-sex couples, if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs'.
Simmons explained when the caseworker came to visit he and his partner's house they 'hid most of [his] drag away'.
"We already feel like we have a strike against us for being a gay couple, so what are they going to think of a drag queen being a parent?" he said.
However, Simmons explains there are many parallels between being a drag queen and parent.
He said: "We have to teach ourselves, because kids don't come with an instruction manual.
"As a parent, you have to make it up as you go along, and that's one of the things that drag is all about.
"If you’re performing in a bar for a bunch of people who aren’t necessarily listening, it's like being a parent when your kid isn't necessarily listening. So I’m OK repeating myself to either a crowded bar or to my son."
Moreover, as someone who performs as a drag queen, Simmons hopes his son will know he can 'express himself if any way that he wants'.
The father resolved: "Kids know what's happening in the world. and they can see that there is more vitriol coming towards drag queens right now — but I haven't stopped.
"I hope my son can see that just because, for the moment, the world seems to be stacked against us, we don't back down. I hope he can pick up some of that resourcefulness."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]