Toronto drag duo Fay and Fluffy are a beacon of light for young hearts and minds
Their storytime events focus on providing support for families with LGBTQ parents and gender variant kids
Fay Slift and Fluffy Soufflé are just two of the many fabulous subjects featured in Canada's a Drag, a docu-series from CBC Arts that showcases drag artists from across the true North strong and fierce. You can watch all three seasons here.
For the past four years, Toronto drag queens Fay Slift (a.k.a. John Paul Kane) and Fluffy Soufflé (a.k.a. Kaleb Robertson) have been doing something the world definitely needs more than ever: spreading joy. Their beloved "Fay & Fluffy's Storytime" events have the duo reading books and singing songs in front of audiences made up mostly of kids, with a particular focus on providing support for families with LGBTQ parent(s) and gender variant children.
Series Producers: Mercedes Grundy and Peter Knegt
Episode Director: Istoica
Packaging Editor: Kiah Welsh
Titles Designer: Hope Little
"Kids are a great audience," says Fay. "They're a lot of fun. They've got real honest questions and you just have to answer them truthfully and honestly. But it is amazing to see that children as young as four and five years of age already have an idea of gender roles — but the minute that you say to them, 'Oh yeah, it's just clothing, it's just a colour, it's just a toy...It's for everybody,' they're like, 'Cool.'"
The first storytime happened in conjunction with Toronto Pride in 2016, and has since seen Fay and Fluffy perform at some of the city's biggest cultural institutions — including the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and TIFF Bell Lightbox — and take their show on the road across Canada.
Fluffy says the experience has been "one of the most incredible things" in their life.
"I don't think that I've ever experienced something that has been equally heartwarming and giving and amazing," Fluffy says. But it hasn't come without challenges.
"So many people out there [have been] hating on what we do — attacking us as people, attacking me for being trans, attacking us for working with kids," says Fluffy. "For people to attack that and put such a disgusting negative spin on our relationships with kids really cuts deep. It's really hard. I think that we're both very sensitive people, which can be hard. We both have big feelings, which is why sometimes some of the negative stuff is as hard on both of us."
But they've persisted — and it's in large part because they don't want to let down their many young fans.
"I think that it's really important for kids to know that we're here for them and we're here for their families," Fay says. "We're here to support them and to try and — not necessarily protect but to show them that you're going to be meeting a lot of adversity and challenges with being authentically true, because that in itself is an act of resistance. That's a terrifying thing for a lot of people, but you're not alone in that at all."