If you get any kind of pleasure from watching bearded, wig-wearing Mongolian Idiots in leather jumpsuits with their faces caked in makeup twerking their flabby asses to the delight of bar crowds who are not mentally impaired but may have significant emotional problems, far be it from me to deny you that pleasure.
But on Saturday night as I watched the livestream from Grand Rapids, MI of the UK-based, all-Down syndrome group of transvestites known as Drag Syndrome strutting their low-status flesh around onstage, my guts violently tugged with the feeling that these poor souls were being exploited.
Drag Syndrome is self-described as—hold on a second, I doubt they have the verbal agility to make such descriptions, so I’ll pin this ad copy on their handlers—a “Drag collective featuring highly addictive queens & kings with Down-Syndrome.” They consist of three white males who go by the stage names of “Horrora Shebang” (“a very super major Bitch in many hoods around the world”), “Frozita Honkong” (“very kind but can bite hard if one shouts too loud in her presence”), and “Gaia Callas” (“a prolific artist, performer, filmmaker and a painter”), along with a white female who wears beard makeup and has been dubbed “Justin Bond” (“King Justin Bond if you’re NASTY! Justin Bond is multi-talented, handsome King. He can sing, he can dance, he can love you till the end of time.”) The troupe also harbors three black males who don’t get nearly as much love and attention in the group’s promotional materials, and I feel it incumbent upon myself to call out the group’s managers for such blatant colonialism, privilege, whitesmanship, and flat-out race-baiting.
Daniel Vais is the group’s choreographer. As far as I can discern, his chromosomes are normal. He has that oily look that suggests his skin exists in a state of semi-permanent lubrication due to having all his holes drilled from every possible angle all the time. My initial instinct upon seeing his picture was to suspect that he smells like cheap cologne, stale hummus, and sweaty assholes. He defends Drag Syndrome and puts a uniquely positive spin on their extra chromosome:
As far as I am aware, we are the only drag trouble for drag artists with Down syndrome….When people see us perform, they recognize the immense talent in front of them and the sheer quality entertainment of the artists…people with Down syndrome have the extra chromosome to excel in the arts, culture, and anywhere else….[ ]