, a drag queen from Mexico City , has dealt with discrimination for seven years, ever since she started wearing makeup and using women’s clothes in the subway. As soon as she got off the station, people would shout homophobic slurs and call her “faggot.” She lived in fear that someone would eventually beat her up or kidnap and murder her.
Drag queens were not that common in the capital back then, though the discrimination they’ve had to endure remains.
Now, at her stand in the Sunday market of La Lagunilla , Lady Morgana still draws the attention of curious bystanders and shoppers, who stare at her doll costume, large black wig, and conspicuous false eyelashes.
Behind the several layers of Morgana’s makeup is Hiram Bleck , a hairdresser raised in a Christian household who found a way to express himself freely, without the constraint of his parents, who have refused to talk to him since they found out he liked to cross-dress four years ago.
“People’s minds are changing little by little. I think we have taken small but firm steps,” he claimed.
“Unfortunately, people are very much afraid of what is different and are very prejudiced,” he told in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL while he handled his scissors and razors to cut a boy’s hair.
“People still assume that we are all sex workers, that we are sick, but even straight men can do drag and there are even some women doing it as well,” she said.
When Morgana read that on May 28, an organization called “ Familias Fuertes Unidas por Nuevo León ” (Strong Families United for Nuevo León) had sued a group of drag queens who were reading stories to children, on grounds of “corruption of minors,” she was completely shocked.
“Those people are crazy and misinformed,” she said. “They shouldn’t go against an initiative that is being done in public places, even in front of the children’s parents, who took them there in the first place. We clearly live in a homophobic country. This is not the first time that drags are attacked in Nuevo León, but it hasn’t stopped them from helping their community.”
Hiram commented that doing drag is an opportunity to “transform yourself into someone entirely different.” His character, Lady Morgana, was born in a party in Acapulco , and took inspiration from Morgan le Fay, a powerful enchantress in the Arthurian legend.
Hiram’s character is a more uninhibited version of himself, who dares do things that he could hardly do. He claims that it has even helped him emerge from depression.
“Five years ago, I got pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. There, I was diagnosed with HIV, but I pulled through, and Morgana helped me with that,” he told.
In the present day, Lady Morgana gives shows at night clubs, where she is free to dance and act however she likes. She is also an event host and juror in drag contest.
Through his work, Hiram seeks to promote the drag movement and contribute to its visibility in Mexico, so that people may begin to normalize it, as has happened in other countries.
Nothing more fragile than Mexican masculinity
is a drag queen who gives life to Artemisa , his alter ego. He is also the producer of Queens of the World , a medium of communication which specializes in the LGBTTTI community.
Galindo commented that intolerance in Mexico is mainly due to the fact that “masculinity in Mexico is way too fragile. You can’t brush it with even the petal of a flower.”
The main cause of discrimination in the country is physical appearance, according to the National Survey on Discrimination (ENADIS) conducted in 2017. This is a determining factor for drag queens, who dress as somebody else entirely.
Moreover, Sergio added, being a drag entails a psychological process that consists of giving voice and life to a sort of alter ego who is born from the depths of each person and is determined by their individual experiences, inspirations, and life stories.
“Being a drag is a lot of work, it’s a show, and there are people who make a living out of it. But it is also a personal process through which we rediscover ourselves, as well as our masculinity and femininity," he stated.
Galindo’s alter-ego represents the Greek goddess of wisdom . Through his character, he seeks to give voice to the LGBTTTI community and raise awareness on the issues they face.