The Queens of Québec

The Queens of Québec

Article by Rosalind Dunphy
Photos courtesy of Olivier Poulin

At first glance, you might think that you’re looking at a beautiful, glamorous lady, but when you take a closer look, you can see an Adam’s apple.  This is what you see when you’re watching a drag show and this past weekend, you could see just that.  From Thursday, August 30th to Sunday, September 2nd, the eighth year of the Fête Arc-en-Ciel de Québec, was held by the GLBT Québec, Lutte à l’homophobie.  And of course, the times have changed during the past eight years, as more and more people are open, accepting and enthusiastic about taking part in the events of the celebration.

Rainbows flashed through the streets of Vieux Québec, as members of the LGBT and heterosexual community gathered to celebrate gay pride.  Among the events was the final drag show, “Gyzel présente MBLG”, which was held on Sunday night.  During the show, the ladies dressed as various popular artists, including Shakira, Samantha Fox and of course Cher while they lip-sang their songs.  Their costumes, hair and make-up, at times over the top, showed that they didn’t take themselves too seriously.

The queen of the show, Gyzel Schatzi-Paris, lip-sang songs by Madonna and Brittney Spears, along with many other very talented back-up dancers.  Her appearance had a strong resemblance to the actual artists themselves.  Among other talented performers were Océane and LaGladu.  Océane’s powerful presence had a hypnotic effect on the audience, while the performance by LaGladu, who danced while carrying many multi-colored balloons, representing the rainbow, was captivating.

The MC of the show, Réglisse, who is known as “la reine mere” or “the queen mother”, acts as a guide to the other queens.  During the show, she used her witty jokes and outrageous costumes to help draw in the audience, bringing more and more people to watch the performance.

The costumes of these well-dressed ladies were not only dazzling, but classy.  From sparkling, bright red lip stick to platform shoes, according to Olivier Poulin, Director of GLBT Québec, Lutte à l’homophobie, it takes the ladies around two hours to prepare for the show.  Poulin said that these queens perform all year round and not just during the Fête Arc-en-Ciel de Québec.  For them, he said, it’s like a hobby, it’s a passion.

When it comes to celebrating gay pride, Poulin said that Québec is more touristic in comparison to Montréal.  Not having a gay community also makes Québec different from other larger cities.

The colors of the gay pride rainbow represent different values within the LGBT community.  This past weekend, violet, meaning “spirit” and red meaning “life” could be seen all over the streets of Québec.

Other events that were held this past weekend were the “Girls Gone Wild” and the “Boys Gone Wild” dance celebrations.  The “Boys Gone Wild” was the more successful of the two, ending at six o’clock in the morning.  When asked about the success of this year’s event, Poulin said, “Of all the years, this year was probably the greatest.”
About Rosalind Dunphy:

A student of journalism and communications, Rosalind Dunphy studied at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  She is now studying French as a foreign language at Laval University.  Rosalind firmly believes that it’s important as a canadian citizen to be able to communicate well in both French and English.  She is most interested in social issues and giving back to the community.  Just beginning her writing career, Rosalind sees that there are many opportunities to write about the issues that are important to all Canadians.

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