Misty Meadows, Amy Grindhouse and P.M. hosted Drag Queen Story Time at the Fernie Heritage Library on October 12. Photo courtesy of Fernie Heritage Library

Drag queens receive royal treatment during Elk Valley Pride

Vancouver drag queens discuss the importance of Pride and growing acceptance of LGBTQ community

Stepping onto the streets of Fernie in full drag, Misty Meadows, Amy Grindhouse and P.M. knew they had nothing to fear.

The Vancouver-based drag queens received a warm reception when they arrived in Fernie to host several events as part of the second annual Elk Valley Pride Festival.

Misty was excited to see how the event had grown and developed after attending last year.

“It really means a lot to have Prides in smaller centres versus just major metropolitan areas like Vancouver. I think these matter just as much, if not more,” she said.

“It’s also amazing to see a Pride that’s so community focused and community driven.

“It’s not necessarily as big when it comes to the after parties but it’s more about showing that you can be who you are (and) you can live your life how you want to.”

Amy grew up in Squamish, B.C., and was pleased another mountain community was getting the Pride experience.

“When I was going through high school and middle school, I never had anything like this, so it feels great to be able to give back to the kids here because it kind of reminds me of my own upbringing,” she said.

The trio arrived at Fernie Heritage Library clad in stilettos, matching polka dot dresses, wigs and make-up for Drag Queen Story Time on Friday.

About 100 children and their parents gathered in the library to hear them read from books of their choosing before experimenting with dress ups.

“I read It’s Okay To Be Different by Todd Parr and I think the message in the book is really beautiful, the fact that it is OK to be different, it is OK to be who are and whatever you want to present yourself as,” said Misty.

P.M. identifies as non-binary (not exclusively masculine or feminine) and chose All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, and Suzanne Kaufman.

“It’s just talking about opening up and welcoming all genders, and experiences and cultures because that’s what life is, so it was really great to read it and see the reactions to that,” they said.

Amy opted for Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman.

“This is a book I was saying I really wish I had when I was younger,” she told The Free Press afterwards.

“I really relate to Jacob and his experience where sometimes he wants to wear something to school that not everybody understands.

“I think it’s so important that little kids understand that you can wear whatever makes you feel confident and comfortable, and Jacob teaches everyone a good lesson in self expression so I love this book.”

Misty has been doing drag the longest of the three (seven years) while P.M. is the newest to the culture.

P.M. likes to tell a story with their makeup, so naturally, it takes them the longest to get ready (usually 3-3.5 hours).

They have previous experience working with children, having taught gender diversity workshops at the Boys and Girls Club, an after school program in Vancouver.

“It’s different doing performances or being with children rather than just adults all the time because I think drag especially gets caught up in performative aspects, but really it is about bringing awareness,” said P.M.

The three drag queens regularly perform together and for the past year have been raising funds for The Dogwood Monarchist Society, which supports community members during times of disaster or hardship.

They feel Canada is becoming more accepting of drag queens and the wider LGBTQ community.

“When I was in high school there were no drag queens reading to our kids, there were no drag queens doing bingo with teenagers, there were no gender diversity workshops, it wasn’t a thing,” said Misty.

“We didn’t have non-binary friends, so there was no real discussion that was happening. I think we still have a long way to go but I think the discussion has definitely started and it’s getting better.”

P.M. agreed. “We’re very lucky in Canada I think as far as gender diversity and acceptance goes because there are so many places in the world where there is no culture or expression,” they said.

“About two years ago I was super scared to walk around as P.M. and in the past two years in Vancouver alone it’s changed so much, so it’s been really great and I can’t wait to see it continue.”

Amy admitted she also used to fear going out in public in drag and people harassing or following her.

“Thanks to all the work that’s being done, I feel more and more safe in my city, and to be as I am and to dress how I am,” she said. “I think for all of us there’s more of a collective sense of security and safety, and that’s what’s also great about having a trio and a group, that’s what drag can provide you is that family and security.”

For anyone struggling with their identity in Fernie, P.M. had this advice:

“It’s a major cliché but it’s a term I live by – you’re not alone,” they said.

“You can reach out to other communities if you’re feeling alone… with media and the internet, it’s so easy to find resources and people who have similar interests to you.”

For information about local resources, visit ferniepride.ca/resources.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The Vancouver drag queens received a warm reception from Fernie Heritage Library staff. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

More than 100 people attended Drag Queen Story Time. Photo courtesy of Fernie Heritage Library

P.M., Amy Grindhouse and Misty Meadows believe society is becoming more accepting of drag queens and the LGBTQ community. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

The Dragilicious Dance Party at Fernie Golf Club was a complete sellout. Photo by Gabriella Ari Escobar

P.M., Misty Meadows and Amy Grindhouse perform at the Dragilicious Dance Party. Photo by Gabriella Ari Escobar

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Tom Shypitka, pictured with his campaign team. on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. Trevor Crawley photo
Shypitka wins second term; BC NDP cruise to majority

“Election Days,” rather than “Election Day,” may be the more accurate term… Continue reading

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

BC ELECTION
Voting day: Elk Valley braves the cold to vote for next MLA

Today is the last chance for voters to have their say

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read