Kerala’s Drag Culture is a movement defying societal norms and celebrating diversity. Led by the tenacious spirit of Mayamma, queens are rising amid the idyllic backwaters and coconut trees. This energy seeks acceptance, love, and the celebration of all identities under the same rainbow. Welcome to a colourful and unapologetic society that rewrites the script of gender, identity, and liberation.
Mayamma, the Drag Icon of Kerala
Mayamma, a popular and legendary drag artist from Kerala, is in the vanguard of this cultural revolution. He/She reflects the spirit of drag culture in the region with grace, comedy, and an air of rebellion. Mayamma, born Alex Thomas, has inspired numerous people in Kerala and beyond with her/his metamorphosis into a gorgeous and courageous queen.
RuPaul Charles is his/her drag idol, and Bianca Del Rio, the 2014 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is his/her inspiration. On September 10, 2014, he/she debuted as “Mayamma” in drag, and there was absolutely no going back. Mayamma loves experimenting with her/his traditional Indian attires, and her/his iconic bindi, saree, winged eyeliner, and hairdo are all very Bollywood!
“Drag is not just about putting on makeup and fabulous costumes,” Mayamma once pointed out, “it’s about breaking free from the chains that society imposes on us…It’s a declaration, a revolt, and a celebration of our genuine identities.” Her remarks reflect the empowerment that pervades Kerala’s Drag Culture. She aspires to be an appropriate and honest motherly figure in society as a drag performer. She also says that she regrets that sometimes society has several misconceptions and confusions regarding drag queens and sometimes mistake them for sex workers.
What the queen had to say?
- “I used to fear getting caught in drag outside.”
- “My Amma gave me her saree and blouse for my first performance.”
- “I have lost some friends since I started performing in drag.”
- “Questions like, ‘So, when’s the sex reassignment surgery going to happen?'” bothers me often.
- “I identify as queer because I don’t believe in conventional sexuality classifications.” Gender and sexuality should be flexible.”
- “It takes me at least two hours to get ready, which is inconvenient. But, at the end of the day, I’m ferocious and gorgeous.”
- “Unless they’re gonna pay your bills, pay them bitches no mind!” – Mayamma has neither tolerance nor time for haters, PERIOD! says Alex citing RuPaul
Mayamma is a guiding light, yet she/he is not alone in this vibrant cosmos. India is home to an amazing constellation of queens, including Rani Ko-He-Nur and Leona Queen, each with their own tales and viewpoints on drag’s significance in India’s cultural scene. Rani Ko-He-Nur, well-known for her electric performances, once stated, “Drag is a canvas where I paint my dreams, and with every stroke, I challenge the stereotypes that confine us.” These queens are more than simply performers; they are warriors of self-expression, defying societal standards with every stomp and twirl.
Exploring Kerala’s Drag Scene
- Kochi’s Queer Arts and Events by Queerala: This cultural hotspot in the heart of Kochi is where everything cool and urban happens. It provides exciting drag events that redefine beauty and foster self-expression. The Queer Arts Village promotes authenticity and safety. Check out their website at Queerala for upcoming events and creative programs.
- Trivandrum Pride Parade Energies: Beyond just a march, the Trivandrum Pride Parade is a spectacular show that challenges prejudices and welcomes honesty. The parade is a riot of colours, a proclamation of joy, and a monument to Kerala’s LGBTQ+ community’s tenacity.
- Kozhikode’s Drag Soirees: Kozhikode lends its own flavour to the story with flamboyant drag events that challenge beauty standards. Drag is more than simply an art form in this town; it’s a celebration of individuality and a protest against prejudice, mostly happening during Pride Month. During the pride month, the streets of Kozhikode dress up in fierce and vibrant colours of freedom, flaunting their sexiness in all their glory! Next time you are around the area during pride month, take a walk around the beach, and many queens will greet you with warm smiles!
Mayamma stands brightly at the forefront of Kerala’s Drag Culture in the vibrant fabric of this revolutionary movement. Mayamma has become the recognizable face of drag in Kerala with her/his elegance, humour, and daring attitude. However, when we reflect on this journey, it becomes evident that Kerala’s drag culture scene is still expanding, and there is a need for it to go even further. Mayamma’s tale exemplifies the power of self-expression and authenticity by breaking free from all cultural constraints.
“I got titanium balls. Nothing is impossible, and I am living proof,” she says, gleaming with a lot of pride. When she says, “Sexuality and gender should always be fluid“, it strikes a profound chord inside the hearts of the listeners. We have to, most importantly, understand that there is much more to be done and that Kerala has the potential to become a centre for diversity and liberation in drag culture. Let us foster and expand Kerala’s Drag Culture to thrive as a light of diversity and freedom in a world that can be too rigid sometimes.