Saskatoon youth take to the stage in drag

OUT Saskatoon is offering drag workshops to youth in the city, with a goal of a final drag performance at the beginning of March.

A group of youth are learning what it takes to perform in drag

A group of youth and their mentors take a break during a drag workshop offered at Out Saskatoon during the month of February. (Victoria Dinh/CBC)

A group of youth in Saskatoon is getting a crash course in the world of performing in drag.

OUT Saskatoon has declared February its drag month, offering workshops to members of the organization's youth group, Rainbow Coffee. At the end of the workshops, the young students, ranging in ages from 12 to 19, will show off their new moves in a final youth drag show. 

'When I was eight, I used to run around wearing dresses all the time. And now it's like, this is my calling.' - Jonathan McCloy

"A lot of them really like performing, and this is a really great, positive and safe environment for them to try something new out," said Amanda Guthrie, youth and education coordinator at OUT Saskatoon.

"We go through everything from Drag 101 and kind of the history of the drag community and LGBT activism, all the way to how to do drag makeup for drag queens and drag kings as well as people who want to perform in more of an androgynous way," she added. "We also go over choreography, how to perform, how to lip sync and then we do lots and lots of dress rehearsals so the youth are comfortable for the night of."

'This is who I am.'

Chance Briere, 19, goes by the stage handle Cherie Popper. After a friend asked him to try drag, he said he's been hooked ever since.
Cherie Popper pictured with one of the OUT Saskatoon mentors, China White. (Chance Briere)

"Once you're on stage and once you're actually performing, it's really fun," said Brier.

"It definitely changes your personality a little bit. [The costumes are] not always the most comfortable so I can understand why some people get a little feisty."

Like Brier, Jonathan McCloy got an early start in the drag scene. At 17, he's already been performing for two years.

"One of the drag queens brought me into her family," said McCloy. "First she called me Bell Bottoms as like a cute name, because I was only 15. And last year, she changed it to Magic Trixx, just to have more of a sassy vibe to it."

McCloy admitted he didn't know much about drag when he heard someone first mention it.
Jonathan McCloy has been preforming in drag since the age of 15. (Jonathan McCloy)

"I heard that there was a drag show, so I was curious and I guess a week into it, I found out what drag was and now it's kind of my passion," he said.

"I was thinking, like, when I was eight, I used to run around wearing dresses all the time and now it's like, this is my calling. This is who I am and now I know what it is and how I feel about it."   

The all-ages event was originally set to take place on Mar. 6 at Pink Lounge and Nightclub, but due to scheduling conflicts, it has been moved to Mar. 13. It will cost $5 to attend with all proceeds going back towards the youth program at OUT Saskatoon.


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