Nation: United Kingdom

Drag Syndrome

When the stars of Drag Syndrome take to the stage audiences are delighted and nobody has more fun than the performers themselves. The world’s only drag troupe made up of drag queens and kings with Down’s Syndrome, this British group has thrilled fans from Mexico to Norway with their ferocious flair and confident flaunting of gender identities. But not everyone agrees that they have the right to express themselves in this way. When Drag Syndrome was due to perform in the US state of Michigan conservative Christians picketed the event and the theatre owner, a Trump-supporting candidate for Congress, banned their show. The theatre owner cast doubt on their “ability to give informed consent” to such an adult performance, insisting that they needed to be protected “like children”. The American Civil Liberties Union has now taken action for the rights of Drag Syndrome to perform. At issue is the “agency” of adults with learning disabilities and their right to make their own decisions, including whether to have sex lives, get married, identify as gay or challenge conventional views of the disabled by cross-dressing on stage. We go backstage and into the homes of the Drag Syndrome stars to hear them demand the right to express themselves and lead their lives with the art, fun and love that they choose.

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