Brother Daniel

Charming and bubbly St. Louis drag king Brother Daniel is from the St. Louis area is one of the newer kings in the drag scene.

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Micro-podcast: Featured excerpts from interview.
Audio of full interview.


Transcription of above micro-podcast:

Interviewer: Brother Daniel touched upon the toxicity and transphobic comments brought up in critiquing. It’s interesting since it is not something I had come across a lot in literature and in class.

Brother Daniel: Honestly, okay. One of the things that’s like. No, there’s so much because there. In like older more pageanty forms of drag. So, if you go to like one show like Hamburger Mary’s vs. like Attitudes there’s two very different styles of drag, I guess?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Brother Daniel: Right. So, there’s pageant queens and then there’s like the more, the more modern take on what drag looks like. So, in St. Louis drag right now, not everybody binds all the time or not everybody wears pads. Or you know genderfuck has become a really big thing. Or people, people will pull different things in their art that aren’t necessarily understood. So, one of the things that I had to learn really easily was like the difference between critique from somebody who knows your drag and somebody who’s critiquing you based on pageant standards. So, I’ve had a lot of, there have been so many times that I’ve faced different just really bullshit scenarios because I’m AFAB and because I’m like bigger. Like first of all I- the first time that I- I don’t even know what it was. I was wearing like too tight pants and I got critiqued like a couple weeks in a row because I couldn’t hide the fact that I had hips. And which, under the category of the male illusion, doesn’t fit. Which is transphobic in nature, but also, it’s whenever you’re thinking drag that’s what they wanted to see. And then there’s also like I think that as far as drag kings, people think that a lot of us are interchangeable unless there’s something really huge separating us. So, for the handful of kings with like with bigger body types. I’ve been confused for almost every single one of them. Like, I have had people come up to me and say, “Oh my God I thought you were this person.” for like there’s a checklist. And most of it is because we are AFAB and big and haven’t dyed our hair funny colors. And that’s, it’s been really like I. It had never, I had never experienced such like targeted dysphoria before as being called out for a long time about my hips.


Interview with Brother Daniel


To cite this interview please use the following:
Schilling, Henry. 2020. Interview with Brother Daniel. Sociology of Drag, SIUE, April 23, 2019.

Audio available at http://www.ezratemko.com/drag/brother-daniel/

Interviewer: When did you first hear about drag, and what was your initial reaction to it?

Brother Daniel: Oh, man. I feel like, it feels like something I have always known about- oh no! I saw Rent! Yeah, I mean, Angel’s character in the movie, is, at least, they call her a drag queen. When I went to my first show was actually during SIUE’s sexual health class. You have to go on a field trip, and you have to do something you’ve never done before that’s like in relation to the gender sexuality something or other spectrum. And so, my friends took me to a drag show, and I had never been before. And I really loved it. One of my friends was just kind of taken a back because he sat there the whole time going “I don’t know if I am sexually confused or not right now?” and I was like “That’s what makes it awesome!” Because I’ve always loved the way that people could just play with gender and make it their own and fly in the face of every single societal expectation that exists around it, it’s always been very relieving to me. So, that was my initial reaction.

Interviewer: That’s actually really cool! We’ve covered a lot of those topics in our class, too. When did you start performing as a drag artist, and why did you start performing?

Brother Daniel: I started performing in June of last year, and kind of the Reader’s Digest version I guess, is my friend invited me to an open stage night, and it’s literally an open call every week. And I was bored, I didn’t have a lot of friends, and I had very little to do. So, I was sitting next to him and I was like “Wait, so I’ll just like paint on a mustache and they’ll let me on stage? This sounds fun.” Which of course was brutally wrong, that is not all that drag is. But, I guess it just kind of, it looked like a fun thing that I wanted to try, and so I literally learned basic makeup skills for the first time in my life and jumped on the stage like the very next week and got just enough positive feedback that I thought I could do it again, and, you know, here we are ten months later and I have not stopped.

Interviewer: How did your family, friends, and other loved ones receive you becoming a drag artist? Do they know at all?

Brother Daniel: Oh, they know. Let’s see… That’s… I’m trying to, well, drag was kind of like a, just kind of the next step because I was already like the gay pariah. I come from a pretty conservative family. My dad and my sisters were excited and kind of like intrigued like they thought it was funny. My grandparents were mortified. They generally just don’t talk to me about it at all. I’ve put it in context for whenever I talk to my family at all, I put it in the context of like I’ve been in theater all my life, and here’s a stage. And that kind of softened it. But overall, I have to stay far away from those conversations with my grandparents. They’re odd members of my family that sometimes say something that sounds like they’re supportive but never around anyone else. My dad and sisters actually did come to a show one time, so that was pretty cool.

Interviewer: That would be super fun, knowing that they’re a member in the audience.

 Brother Daniel: Yeah, and most of my friends are other drag performers, so clearly, they were all fine. Some of my friends were just kind of “Oh, okay” they, didn’t have any opinion on it one way or another and some of them just don’t talk to me as much anymore. So, which I mean it’s this is completely unsolicited commentary, but it feels very similar to the conversations you have whenever you’re coming out. Except instead of “This is my identity” it’s “This is what I’m doing publicly for everyone to see and give me money!” So, it’s it kind of takes everything that was already like they were biting their tongues on whenever you were just thinking kid, and then just pulls it all out.

Interviewer: Pretty solid though, with the comparison.

Brother Daniel: Yeah.

Interviewer: Where does your drag name come from?

Brother Daniel: This is my favorite. So, kind of two ways, the first thing is when that I have a background with, I grew up in the church, and, so, my religious satire numbers have kind of like been a really big deal in my drag life and my reputation and just the numbers that I’m known for, I guess. But before that the friend that was helping me whenever I was first starting drag was also someone who met me as the like awkward church kid and then saw me grow into whatever I am today. And so, he thought it would be funny to be like “Ah no you should be Brother Daniel.” So, it didn’t at that point it was just like “Yeah this sounds good it’ll be fun” and it’s really stuck.

Interviewer: It’s a nice way to embrace the past.

Brother Daniel: Yeah.

Interviewer: There are a lot of terms for types and styles of drag from drag queen to drag king to glamour queen, male impersonator, bearded queens, and all this other stuff. Are there particular labels you would use to characterize your drag? What kind of drag do you do or style?

Brother Daniel: I’m a drag king. So, my style, I’m very. I guess Brother Daniel is very charming and adorable, and that’s kind of just how that’s gone. It was not intentional at all. But everybody just started thinking like “Oh look at that little baby-faced dude in a mustache” and so that’s how everything has come to be. I actually started out really liking rap like I love rapping I just never get to do it because it’s not really all the way to my brand. But, between that and just kind of like showtunes very energetic numbers. Overall just things that I think will either have a lot of fun with the audience or emotions and concepts that I’m trying to convey that like either I’m dealing with or I feel like a lot of people deal with. One thing that I’ve been very, that I dived into a lot has been some of the more religious and mental health concepts. So, I kind of, I don’t even know how I decided to do this but I start out with like a priest outfit and then when I take the priest outfit off I have duct tape all over me and it’s all like slurs that the religious community uses against queer people. And the first time I did it, it was like a stab in the dark. And it’s literally become something that people will ask me for now whenever I sign on to do shows. I’ve pulled the concept in a couple of different ways. So, I guess that’s another thing that I, like is within my style? But I do both of those things.

Interviewer: That’s really interesting. I’ve never really seen that with other performers either in that kind of way.

Brother Daniel: Yeah, I think actually you’re right that is one thing that I think I’ve done that I think you don’t see a lot.

Interviewer: Yeah, no, that’s really cool. Gosh. I guess that kind of leads into our next question of who or what has influenced your drag, so-

Brother Daniel: Definitely that. A lot of times I, especially if I’m like booked for something and I’m just like very emotional or dealing with a lot I’m probably going to pick something topical just so I’m, just so I can make that connection for myself. Other than that, my drag family has been a really big influence. So, within maybe a month I got kind of pulled into with some of my best friends this drag family. And they taught me more stuff about makeup and performing style and costuming and pretty much everything under the sun, so whenever, when people see me perform a lot of times, they connect me directly to my drag dad, really easily. And a lot of that comes from like we were very similar before I was adopted by him, but then just like I’ve been able to kind of come under all of their influence and be able to pull things out in my own way. But that’s then, I have my drag dad who’s very showy and does a lot of the like vaudeville style really outward numbers, and then I have my like my I guess my grandpa, it’s really weird I’m older than both of them. And they do a lot of like they’re really heavily trained in dance, so, their dance skills are out of this world and I don’t have any of those. But at the same time between the two of them, I’ve learned a lot about just what it takes to have a stage presence and what kind of songs are good for which crowds and that kind of thing, so.

Interviewer: I wonder- I’m going to add a question.

Brother Daniel: Okay.

Interviewer: How did you get into your drag family?

Brother Daniel: They started popping up at the open stage nights I was performing at and I was just in love with them because they’re these really awesome performers and they’re also just really cool people, like they’re all really friendly. And, so, after a couple weeks of them showing up and I, I had talked to them, but it was more of like me just being a ridiculous fanboy and them tolerating me. They apparently, these two performers were fighting, they’re father and son, and they were fighting over who actually got to adopt me. But so, I, the conversation was kind of like played with for like a week, but then Andy, my drag dad, came up to me after a performance at one point was like “Hey, wanna be my son?” And then I had to do this initiation, it was a pickleback shot which is like whiskey chased with pickle juice. Really it was literally at like midnight in a bar, on like a Thursday night it was not anything special at all, except it was.

Interviewer: Thursday-

Brother Daniel: Yes (laughter)

Interviewer: I know that from the drag class that there’s like different families that they get in a part of, so it’s like interesting to see how people-

Brother Daniel: Usually it’s just the, etiquette-wise you shouldn’t really be asking someone to adopt you, but a lot of people do and it’s not a big deal. But really, it’s like a performer will see someone that is newer and think that they either have a style that fits in with theirs or the families in a way or just like “Yes, that’s the one I want to mentor.”

Interviewer: Yeah-

Brother Daniel: Yeah, it’s a mentorship. But it’s also, I mean, they’re also, like I said, my best friends. So, it’s, but it’s very based in like, whenever there’s something I that I need advice on or when I’m struggling with a song choice or something like that, then that’s the avenue that I go to. And there are six or seven other people in my family. So, we all just kind of bounce ideas back and forth all the time, it’s pretty cool.

Interviewer: That actually sounds really cool. Again, like bringing it up in drag class, I didn’t really know.

Brother Daniel: It’s- another performer recently compared all of the houses in St. Louis to like high school cliques in a really wholesome and funny way. But that’s sometimes a lot what it feels like. Is that, we’re all over here in our little house and we have our own internal stuff that’s going on sometimes and then sometimes there’s something’s going on between houses and sometimes there’s stuff that’s just going on and it’s all very dramatic at times. I mean, we’re all performers, it’s not gonna get hairy.

Interviewer: Does your house have like a specific name that they go under?

Brother Daniel: Yeah, the House of Defiance.

Interviewer: The House of Defiance.

Brother Daniel: Yes, they’re a lot of houses that every performer in the house takes that last name and we’re one of the houses that don’t do that. So, none of us have the word defiance in our names. So?

Interviewer: It’s like a formal thing, it’s like “Brother Daniel Defiance”

Brother Daniel: No, I toyed with it for a second, but I can’t let go of my name.

Interviewer: No, that’s perfectly understandable. Okay. Next one. Do you consider your drag political?

Brother Daniel: Yes. Sometimes. Yeah. I- it can be. The two kind of sides to that a) I mean I recently accepted a booking at a- at a support show that is raising money for a black power fundraiser, so their definitely, as a performer you get, you get into places where you’re asked to support specific things and I very much believe in the way that and where they’re sending the money and what’s going on and the things I want to put my name to, kind of, also I regularly put really offensive words on my body and make a very specific statement that “screw what the church is thinking about gayness because here we all are.” But I also think that in a lot of ways drag itself is inherently political. Like we’re taking things that society’s been trying to push on us for decades and throwing them in everyone’s face and actually the very beginning like the very first drag queens they were actually, like that was illegal. It was illegal to cross-dress at the time that drag started. So, it, I believe that it is inherently political but also, I think a lot of us occasionally get a political tone. But there are definitely been some arenas that I’ve been in-

Interviewer: Neverminded I just found the one where it says talk about drag family. There’s another question that can do. How often do you perform?

Brother Daniel: Roughly, usually three to five times a month something or other. Which it fluctuates cause there are, I’m still relatively new so there’s still a lot of open stage nights that I’ll end up in. It also depends on what’s going on at that point. Like there’s some organization that I work with that has done a couple different benefit shows throughout the last couple of months, so I’ve been heavily involved with that. But I would say I try to make it out, I try to average it to once a week, but it doesn’t actually look like once a week. What it usually looks like is I’m performing every day for a week and then nothing for the rest of the month.

Interviewer: And are there like specific places that you usually perform at?

Brother Daniel: I’m usually at either Grey Fox Pub or Attitudes. There have been some shows at Bubby & Sissy’s in Alton that I’ve done a couple. And then there are various art galleries or other venues just depending on the, depending on what’s going on there or who’s the person hosting the event.

Interviewer: What goes into getting ready for a performance?

Brother Daniel: You want like my step-by-step or you want like a general idea?

Interviewer: Whichever one you feel comfortable explaining.

Brother Daniel: So, what it looks like for me is getting emotionally prepared. First of all, like I’ve been the most low maintenance person for my entire life so putting this much effort into my appearance is like really new for me. So, what I’ll basically do is depending on whether I’m doing my face like at the venue or at home, I’ll like set everything up and it involves like getting out a ton of makeup and just like spreading it all over whatever surface I’m on. And then there’s like human person makeup and then there’s performer makeup so I have to have like layers of primer and sealing stuff and then in stage makeup so it’s like a ton thicker than you usually see. But just kind of just like- to me it had to be translated as like drawing lines and then blending them. Like it didn’t make sense to me at all whenever I first started.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Brother Daniel: So then once my like face is all done, I’ll usually if I’m painting at home I’ll just put on sweats and go to the venue- oh meanwhile my partner is scrambling around getting all of my clothes together because I’m really bad at that. And once I get there, I’ll be able to check in and get all of my stuff situated. I’ll usually get a drink there, and I’ll get dressed. Which, depending on the outfit, y’know there are some things that I’m just in like a vest and leggings and then there are some outfits that I have like a full suit and then a jacket and then a robe and I’m taking all of them off at some point, so I’m in like four layers of clothing like walking around. But, yeah. That’s most of the day of stuff.

Interviewer: Okay, so what would you consider like being the biggest challenges of doing drag and being a drag artist?

Brother Daniel: Oooof.

Interviewer: Just take it all in.

Brother Daniel: I think balancing it with your life as a person. As much as it’s very, as much of it’s based in bars and parties and drunk people giving us money it’s also a professional realm. So, there are places where you want to take things in a very personal way that are not personal at all. And there are places that people are overly personal in a place that they shouldn’t be. And there’s also friendships and relationships that come out of it that are totally different, it’s not like frowned upon in the drag community in the same way it would be in a workplace. But I think like creating those lines, because it’s so based on the person. Like there are people I absolutely adore and they’re some of my best friends in and out of drag. And then there are people that like everything that I know about them is their drag persona. I don’t know anything about their life. And there are also like people on the flip side of that where I talk to these people all the time and I never like end up around them in drag. But putting all of those things together is so itemized almost. You have to do it on a moment by moment basis and learning those lines is a really hard process. So especially for somebody with like a lot of anxiety and sensitivity to me it’s been really hard to navigate kind of what the social world looks like as a performer.

Interviewer: Yeah. Is there anything unique to the drag scene where you lived compared to other places in the country or world that you’ve seen at all, maybe?

Brother Daniel: Can I read the question?

Interviewer: Yes.

Brother Daniel: Sorry, I’ve been- where is it? Oh, there we go. Honestly, I haven’t seen a ton of other drag scenes. I think that St. Louis in itself is really unique because as much as we’re a city we’re also very small. So, everybody knows each other. Half of us have probably slept with each other, and we all are like that six degrees of separation doesn’t exist. It’s like two to three. So, with that there’s also this intense history and every single relationship you make and everything you say and everything you do, and it’s all very tight and it’s all very personal. I don’t know if that’s different from other scenes, but that’s kind of what I’ve seen, what I’ve seen is very unique.

Interviewer: How do you identify in terms of your sex, gender identity and gender expression out of drag?

Brother Daniel: I am, I guess, if you wanna put like all the words to it be like an AFAB nonbinary man, I guess? I’m kind of still flipping around with that. Um, yeah. Oh, yeah. Expression. I dress largely like this all the time. No. Usually I’m wearing men’s clothes or just t-shirts and beanies exclusively. So, like my presentation I guess is very stereotypically male, but what does that even mean? Yeah.

Interviewer: Cool! Have they influenced your drag at all, like outside of it? I know that before we started the- we were talking about it.

Brother Daniel: I think it honestly; I think that drag gave me the platform to realize that my gender wasn’t what I thought it was. Which I’m guessing is not a, not an uncommon perspective. Like I’ve always known what does and doesn’t make me feel comfortable but I’ve never quite associated that with gender. So, largely like being able to walk around as a boy or y’know half the time has been really- it was gender euphoria is what it was, honestly, it was like experiencing you know “This is what it would feel like to actually be in my own skin.” I always talked about like whenever I was younger, and we would wear dresses or get dolled up for church or whatever and it felt like I was putting on a costume. Drag doesn’t feel like that but drag actually is putting on costumes. So, it’s been very, it’s just been very much a matter of like picking out like what’s Dani and what’s Daniel.

Interviewer: That makes sense. How has drag impacted or changed you?

Brother Daniel: My family says I’m louder. I think I’ve definitely developed a lot more confidence. I’ve developed a lot more awareness of who I am as a person and how I’m impacted by things. And how-to kind of separate my persona from like my actual self. So, like you, seeing me out in drag I’m bubbly and energetic and charismatic and talking to everybody and excited to see everyone. And you could put me in the same bar 24 hours later without face on and I’m hiding in a corner playing on my phone. And those are two such battling concepts that I, it’s really, it was really hard for me to place what it felt like to be on either of those sides. So, I think it’s mainly been I’ve been learning so much more about myself both in and out of drag.

Interviewer: Nice. Okay. If you could go back in time as Brother Daniel, what advice would you give to your younger self.

Brother Daniel: As Brother Daniel?

Interviewer: As Brother Daniel.

Brother Daniel: Like-

Interviewer: So, like-

Brother Daniel: What would Daniel now say to Daniel in June?

Interviewer: Yes.

Brother Daniel: Oh, shit.

Interviewer: In like the 10 months, it sounds like you’ve done a lot so, I’m really interested.

Brother Daniel: Buy a hot glue gun before you get on stage for the first time. Like learn about costuming before you go out there. Yeah. And just, I mean, I’ve said this advice to a couple people, but I think I definitely would have wanted to hear at that point to is to just like be ready to hear criticism and then get up and do it again. I think that something with new performers a lot is that you want it to either stick or not stick. And in drag that’s such a weird concept because some people. It’s not, for people it’s not necessarily being good or bad at drag, it’s having the tools and the understanding to get you from being a very clearly a new performer to being very clearly a like a performer who knows more about what’s going into it. I had no clue what was gonna go into it whenever I thought it would be fun the first time, so I. But honestly don’t think I would have told myself to wait. That, that was one of my favorite impulse decisions!

Interviewer: Oh, gosh. We’ve also answered most of question 11 if you want to briefly go over it, because that’s a lot.

The question read “I’m curious if and how your social identities have impacted your experience of drag, or vice-versa, how drag has impacted your identities. Can you share about how one or more of your social identities, such as gender, race, class, age, geography, religion, size, sexuality, disability, etc., and/or the interaction of these social identities, have impacted your experience of drag, and/or how drag has impacted your experience of this social identity?”

Brother Daniel: Okay, oh shit. Okay. Sorry. I didn’t- aw I’ve been trying to do so well about cursing.

Interviewer: It’s completely fine, we’re in college now.

Brother Daniel: Honestly, okay. One of the things that’s like. No, there’s so much because there. In like older more pageanty forms of drag. So, if you go to like one show like Hamburger Mary’s vs. like Attitudes there’s two very different styles of drag, I guess?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Brother Daniel: Right. So, there’s pageant queens and then there’s like the more, the more modern take on what drag looks like. So, in St. Louis drag right now, not everybody binds all the time or not everybody wears pads. Or you know genderfuck has become a really big thing. Or people, people will pull different things in their art that aren’t necessarily understood. So, one of the things that I had to learn really easily was like the difference between critique from somebody who knows your drag and somebody who’s critiquing you based on pageant standards. So, I’ve had a lot of, there have been so many times that I’ve faced different just really bullshit scenarios because I’m AFAB and because I’m like bigger. Like first of all I- the first time that I- I don’t even know what it was. I was wearing like too tight pants and I got critiqued like a couple weeks in a row because I couldn’t hide the fact that I had hips. And which, under the category of the male illusion, doesn’t fit. Which is transphobic in nature, but also, it’s whenever you’re thinking drag that’s what they wanted to see. And then there’s also like I think that as far as drag kings, people think that a lot of us are interchangeable unless there’s something really huge separating us. So, for the handful of kings with like with bigger body types. I’ve been confused for almost every single one of them. Like, I have had people come up to me and say, “Oh my God I thought you were this person.” for like there’s a checklist. And most of it is because we are AFAB and big and haven’t dyed our hair funny colors. And that’s, it’s been really like I. It had never, I had never experienced such like targeted dysphoria before as being called out for a long time about my hips.

Interviewer: Wow, yeah.

Brother Daniel: And I honestly don’t know if I would have experienced it that way if I had not been in drag.

Interviewer: Interesting. It’s another thing that no one outside of the drag community would really think about.

Brother Daniel: Right.

Interviewer: Yeah, so it’s interesting to hear your take on it for sure. How do you define drag?

Brother Daniel: Art that plays with gender. I think that a lot of people try to define it as one gender impersonating another and that’s not true because there are AFAB drag queens and there are trans drag performers and trying to put everybody into unique boxes and saying that is and that’s not drag is really, it’s dangerous. It borders on discrimination on so many levels but it also it pushes labels onto people that maybe they wouldn’t have chosen for themselves. So, I think that drag is a very wide and loose definition but overall just most things that are playing with gender.

Interviewer: What do you think is the purpose of drag?

Brother Daniel: I think it’s different for everyone. I think it’s a way to make a statement or a way to make art that you also get to interact with people all the time and you write the script in a lot of ways like, you’re not writing the songs you’re lip-syncing all the time, but you are like, a lot of times you’re picking your playlist, you’re so in charge of what you bring to the stage. Yeah, I don’t know. That’s a very hard question. I hope that was okay!

Interviewer: Oh, no that sounded great. Do you think that drag is sexual?

Brother Daniel: Okay. I hate this question. No. I do not think that it is inherently sexual. I think that people add sexual aspects to it, which is valid and awesome, but I don’t think it is inherently sexual. I think that that idea is very placed in the same category as people who think it’s gross whenever gay kids have crushes but totally fine when they have crushes on people of the opposite sex, where anything queer is inherently sexual, which isn’t the case. There are a lot of inherently sexual performers and numbers and people that can make sex into art, quite literally, and it’s amazing to watch. But, it’s not everyone. I literally, I don’t think that I’ve ever been able to pull off anything inherently sexual with my drag. Like, if you. If you were to watch me perform you would very rarely think that I’m I don’t I rarely flirt with the audience. A photographer asked me to flirt with the camera one time and I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And she goes “Well, how do you get tips?” and I was like “I just grin at people.” And for, and that may be the case for me, there are other performers who would feel completely the opposite but that’s dependent on the performer. We’ve had a couple of family-friendly shows that you just put content warnings in place in the right arenas and it can actually go off pretty well. So, no.

Interviewer: I liked your explanation. How do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race? Are we still-

Brother Daniel: Yeah, we’re still good I was just checking to make sure I was. I think it’s a queer zoo for straight people. It’s, y’know, there are so many transphobic plotlines and undertones and overtones throughout the show that it discounts so much of the drag world. And there are so many other types of performers, or so many other people. I also think it, one of the things that I’ve seen a lot of commentary on in the community, like it discounts what local drag does. So, it’s very easy to go up to a performer friend and be like “Oh my God when are you going to be on RuPaul?” I don’t know, I’m never going to be on RuPaul because I’m a king but I’m going to be here on Friday night where you can literally just go. And, but that aside, I’ve watched a couple episodes, it’s entertaining, and it’s a reality show for drag queens which is, it’s gonna be hilarious. I don’t think that there’s, I think that liking it is, or isn’t everyone’s prerogative. There’s a lot of problematic content if you are looking into the trans community, but overall, it’s TV.

Interviewer: It’s always fun, TV. If you could change one thing about drag, the drag scene, or the drag community, what would it be? Is there anything you would want to change?

Brother Daniel: I don’t know if that’s terrifying. I think that creating more of a spirit of positivity and general like affirming mentorships. Like there are sectors and timeframes where everyone or most people in this scene are very good at that. And there are other times that it seems like it’s really easy to tear other performers down. And, it is, it like any performance community it’s a matter, a little bit of a competition. And we’re all fighting this battle together like we’re all doing it together. And there are so many performers who are really good about taking someone aside whenever they’ve messed something up or just saying like “Hey, I realized that I did this in this number the other night and it really wasn’t a good idea, so, like, I’m sorry.” And there are a lot of times whenever things just get out of hand and I think that everybody’s trauma and their experiences are valid, but if I had my magic wand I would probably wanna like I would want to just make that positivity be a little bit more prevalent.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Brother Daniel: Yeah!

Interviewer: Yeah. What do you think are misconceptions people have about drag?

Brother Daniel: Mostly that it’s inherently sexual. That’s my first thing, absolutely. Also, that it’s not dignified. I watch performers at least once a week that have insane talent whether it be the number their doing or the costuming or, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever rhinestoned anything? But largely you are taking basically toothpicks and gluing individual rhinestones which are like this big.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Brother Daniel: So, when you look at some of the outfits that are detailed and ornate with all of the or are just top to bottom stoned, like that’s hours of work you’re looking at. And, so that’s another thing. I think people don’t attach enough dignity to it because there’s so much work that goes into it like any other art form. I also think that another misconception is that you can touch performers in general. There are performers who don’t mind and there are performers who encourage it and there are also humans under those costumes that you’re still groping and it’s still not okay.

Interviewer: Yeah, yeah. Well, is there anything that you think with all of those misconceptions that might help change that at all? Or?

Brother Daniel: I think the more people that talk about things or normalize them, the better. It’s the same as what I brought back to my family, like, my, most of the members on one side of my family may not ever show up to a show of mine. If they did, I don’t know if they would ever want anyone else to know that they did. And at the same time, they’re coming to see me perform. It’s like, I’m not stripping, some people do, I don’t. But like there’s, if more people were to make connections that normalized drag or normalized taking your clothes off it’s actually really cool, and I’m really mad that I can’t do it but like I think that those conversations the more that they happen the more people understand what the drag community is really like. And it’s like whenever people think of drag shows so much of the time they think of it’s your bachelorette party and so you wanna go to a gay bar or something to that effect and it’s not exclusively a zoo for drunk people to go to and watch all the queers in their pads like-

(Part of the audio was cut off due to an alarm on the device going off, which was not realized until after the rest of the question was answered.)

Interviewer: If you could choose one thing you would want people to know about drag what would it be?

Brother Daniel: Pretty much any of the debunking of any of those misconceptions. I would probably start with don’t think that you can touch performers just because they’re there. Just because that goes anywhere from being rude to being unsafe. Also, I feel like I would just tell people to like go to a show. Cause it’s honestly, I think people create these big ideas in their head of all of the horrible, nightmarish things that drag can be. And I mean, we have performers who really are like, they actually do really good horror numbers, but that’s a whole different story, but like in reality going and watching what’s happening and forming your own opinions instead of forming them based on this like really overexaggerated ideal.

Interviewer: Yeah! Well, thank you.

Brother Daniel: Absolutely.

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