This is the fourteenth installment in an ongoing series that explores drag culture and the nightlife scene in Brooklyn, N.Y. Over the past several years, following the large-scale exodus of artists across the East River and into northern Brooklyn, those engaged in drag culture in this outer borough have created a new, queer world entirely their own. Accompanied by a larger movement to understand drag culture outside of the pageant circuit, many individuals engaged in the drag community in this borough approach drag culture through a nontraditional lens of “alternative” drag or performance art, enabled largely by the malleable and queer nature of this part of New York. Visit HuffPost Gay Voices regularly to learn not only about the individuals involved in Brooklyn’s drag community, but more about the culture of the community itself.
The Huffington Post: How did you get your start in the drag world?
Goldie Peacock: Well, as the great RuPaul says, we’re all born naked and the rest is drag! I’ve always been a performer and I started officially doing drag while I was a student at Oberlin College. They had an incredible scene and I wanted in. I have always been drawn to physical transformation and saw drag kinging as a welcome challenge, particularly because I identified and presented as femme at the time. After I won the “Oberlin Drag Ball,” I decided I was on to something and started performing professionally, first in Portland, Maine, and then all over the country. I’ve called Brooklyn home for the past four years and I love seeing how the drag scene is growing.
Do you find empowerment through drag?
I find drag to be extremely empowering, so much so that I’ve written this article on the topic. I think that if everyone played around with gender a little more in their lives, we’d achieve something like world peace.
Gender is a complex animal, part nature, part nurture and part mystery. If more people allowed themselves to play around with what they thought the acceptable range of personal expression to be (in terms of identity, attire, creativity), we would all have more more self-love and compassion for everyone. If you have a burning desire to put on a pink frilly dress or a fake mustache or an alien costume, even if you perceive it as in some way forbidden to you, then try it (in a safe environment). A lot of misanthropy and misunderstanding (and definitely the “-isms”) come from people secretly desiring what they see as unattainable for themselves. They don’t allow themselves to go out on that limb, and so they sort of implode. The jealousy and shame that result from this state can be dangerous. The more we work through these issues, the better of a place the world becomes. Playing around with gender — this thing we’ve been falsely taught is fixed, inherent and reliant on binaries — is one of the keys to liberation.