n an age defined by identity politics, the debates surrounding child drag queens are some of the most contentious. To critics, the subculture represents the abasement of youth and everything they consider normal. To others, it’s merely kids playing dress-up.
A child at the centre of this political and cultural storm is 10-year-old Nemis Quinn Mélançon-Golden: otherwise known as Queen Lactacia, the most prominent child drag star in Canada.
In 2017, Jess, her husband Cori and Nemis attended a drag show in Montreal, where the naturally exuberant child contributed a performance that was caught on video. The subsequent clip – where Nemis was brought onstage by Bianca Del Rio in clothes intended for girls and a wig – went viral.
What one person sees as the capitulation of tradition and societal touchstones, another sees as liberation and freedom. The child drag debate is just another example – along with trans rights, immigration and the presidency of Donald Trump, generally – of the widening gap between Liberals and Conservatives in North America and beyond.