Master Cameron Eric Leon has been performing in drag for six years and for his birthday he’s doing a Gender Reveal Party…
That’s right, you’ve heard about Gender Reveal parties, but this is not your standard cishet-normative breeder gender reveal where parents use an arbitrary colour attributed to the gender binary in order to tell the world what genitals their baby will have—and therefore what their gender identity will be.
Gender reveal parties, in the context of reinforcing the gender binary, have been deemed harmful to trans, queer and non-binary people and communities. Naming the transphobic nature of the gender reveal party has been important to 2SLGBTQIA+ communities who have spent decades deconstructing and debunking the gender binary… So why call this event a gender reveal when it’s featuring queer, non-binary, trans and other marginalized genders?
Simple answer. This is drag. On the Gender Reveal.
This party, originally dubbed “Master Cameron Eric Leon’s gender blending birthday bender” was rebranded as an ongoing celebration of drag and other art that doesn’t fit neatly into the gender binary.
Much like drag performers—and drag kings specifically—are commonly subject to misconceptions, the real reveal here is that gender is an ongoing exploration, that there is not true fixed right or wrong gender and that it’s safe and OK to not know, to be different, to try something new, and to be you.
“You are valid no matter what your identity is.”
In the words of Master Cameron Eric Leon, “You are valid no matter what your identity is.”
There is tremendous pressure to fit into the boxes of ‘male’ or ‘female’ and even drag reinforces this when defined as a portrayal of ‘the opposite sex.’ Master Cameron Eric Leon prefers to describe drag as an intentional performance of gender, and I wouldn’t be the first to argue that by those standards, most if not all of our expressions of gender in day-to-day life are intentional.
For drag artists, though, Cameron says, it’s not always ‘the opposite gender.’ In fact, a drag persona can be a very core part of gender identity and offer a space for healing, celebration and true acceptance.
Drag is becoming more familiar and accessible in popular culture and even celebrated through mainstream media, but for many drag artists it is a struggle to be embraced, accepted or even tolerated. Hate crimes, homophobia and transphobia are on the rise and suicide rates in queer and trans communities are astronomically disproportionate. Acceptance, safe space and recognition of one’s identity, this is key.
But what makes this a reveal is the celebratory aspect and the creation of an event that holds space for that resistance to the binary, through performance and art. Reclaiming gender, reclaiming queer art, space for non-binary identities and the gender reveal as a whole is an incredibly powerful thing.
The Gender Reveal Party will take place at The 27 Club (27 York St) on Saturday, January 18, and is co-presented by Cyril Cinder, Miles Zynia and Master Cameron Eric Leon, featuring a variety of trans, queer and non-binary artists prominently in its roster. Admission is by donation. RSVP on Eventbrite or Facebook. The 27 Club is a wheelchair accessible venue with a main floor single stall all gender washroom.