'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 dehumanization
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 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.