Jude Hayes is an AFAB (assigned female at birth) performer who’s been doing drag for a little over a year now.
“Drag kind of provided an interesting space to do creative and artistic and musical stuff without the confines of working within very cis and heterocentric persepectives.”
Hayes (as Miss Gender) has performed in a number of shows with Slunt Factory, traveled with the Sunshine Bunch to perform in Fort Frances and was on the main stage at Winnipeg Pride 2019.
Recently, he’s used drag as a form of disruptive protest and has taken part in both planned and impromptu events.
“I’ve done a few of the drag queen story hours with the Winnipeg Public Library,” he says. He also “got involved with the Millenium for All movement.”
Hayes took part in an “unsanctioned protest drag queen storytime in the lobby of the Millennium Library as part of the protests for the anniversary of the security in place there.”
“It’s a thing that a lot of folks don’t seem to realize impacts so many people,” he says. “If I’m not trying to look overtly queer, I look pretty unamusing, just because I’m soft and feminine, and it’s like ‘oh just let him through.’
“But friends of mine, people who look like they could be homeless or look like they could be substance users or people who look like they could be trouble, which translate to people who are not white – it’s just fucking awful.”
In addition to protesting in drag, Hayes protests out of drag as well.
“I’ve been to two of the blocks in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en, which has been great, but that’s not something that I would feel comfortable going in drag to, because I’m white, I’m a settler,” he says.
“All I can be in that situation is a body, and it’s not my voice that needs to be heard. It’s not my voice that needs to be disruptive, but my body can be used to block traffic or to hold the sign.”
For Hayes, drag is an important tool for protest “because it gets people's attention. It gets them talking.”
1) Stunning Miss Gender art
“This is the picture that Graeme (Houssin) did for the Drag in the Peg season 2 launch.”
2) Wigs. So many wigs.
“This is all my wigs right now and some of the headpieces.”
3) Screw you, James Charles
“i hate James Charles, but this palette is so nice.”
4) Scrapbooking supplies
“This is where i’ve been throwing all my scrapbooking stuff, because i’m trying to get back into scrapbooking.”
5) A wonderful present from Sylveeve
“That was done by Sylv for Christmas presents for all of our little friend group.”
6) Jude's bookcase
“A lot of Neil Gaiman, a lot of comic books.”
7) Jude's cat Navi
“He had hip surgery, so I did physio with him, which he did not care for.”
Published in Volume 74, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 12, 2020)