Arts·Queer Pride Inside

'A call to arms in the form of a prayer': Drag king Gay Jesus urges us to protect the marginalized

The Toronto-based draglesque performer is calling on us to protect vulnerable communities from being dehumanized.

The Toronto-based draglesque performer is calling on us to protect vulnerable communities from dehumanization

'A call to arms in the form of a prayer': Drag king Gay Jesus urges us to protect the marginalized

1 year ago
3:05
The Toronto-based draglesque performer is calling on us to protect vulnerable communities from being dehumanized. 3:05

CBC Arts Presents Queer Pride Inside: A Buddies in Bad Times Cabaret was a virtual cabaret featuring over a dozen LGBTQ Canadian artists that CBC Arts produced in partnership with Buddies in Bad Times this past June in celebration of Pride Month. Over the course of the summer, we'll be highlighting some of the individual performances that were included in the cabaret. 

The one and holy Gay Jesus is a Toronto-based drag king serving "a mouth-watering communion of Latinx wine and non-binary bread," and we were so excited to have them be a part of our recent special CBC Arts Presents Queer Pride Inside: A Buddies in Bad Times Cabaret.

Born of "virgin-ish loins and baptized in sex appeal," Gay Jesus's sermons consist of "multidisciplinary protest pieces decked out in draglesque." That is very much the case with "All of the Above," their stunning contribution to Queer Pride Inside.

"'All of the Above' is a video exploration of the fatal consequences when an audience is willing to desire Latinx bodies but not save them," says Gay Jesus, a.k.a. Heath V. Salazar. "Through his work, both live as well as on film, Gay Jesus combines drag and burlesque to engage audiences in political conversation. This piece brings us behind the scenes into some of the most intimate moments that comprise the creation, execution and aftermath of one of his protest performances."

Gay Jesus (CBC Arts)

Gay Jesus says that the piece's larger message speaks to the urgency of the migrant crisis at the U.S. border.

"It's a criticism on the ways in which performative allyship, as well as the dehumanization of marginalized people through the notion that they're tools of service — be it for entertainment, caregiving, desire and/or labour — contribute to the ongoing genocide. 'All of the Above' is a call to arms in the form of a prayer."

You can learn more about Gay Jesus — who was featured on the CBC Arts series Canada's a Drag in 2018 — by following them on Instagram. 

See CBC Arts Presents Queer Pride Inside: A Buddies in Bad Times Cabaret in its entirety on CBC Gem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Knegt (he/him) has worked for CBC Arts since 2016, writing the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the 2019 Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada) and spearheading the launch and production of series Canada's a Drag, variety special Queer Pride Inside, and interactive projects Superqueeroes and The 2020s: The Decade Canadian Artists Stopped Saying Sorry. Collectively, these projects have won Knegt four Canadian Screen Awards. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also the filmmaker of numerous short films and the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.

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