Drag performers want more venues on P.E.I.

A P.E.I. man has dragged himself back to the Island for a performance, but says he wishes there were more places on the Island for drag queens to perform.

Tye Shanahan grew up on Prince Edward Island and performs as a drag queen under the name Alexas Styles. He has been on stage across Canada and the world.

Shanahan is living in Halifax, but is on the Island visiting family and decided to take the opportunity to perform in his home province.

"I try to do so any chance I can, but with the lack of space for venues Island shows are limited and few," Shanahan said.

Shanahan said growing up on P.E.I. he performed at dances hosted by Pride Prince Edward Island, but they were only once or twice a month.

"So, I'd only have one day a month to be able to get dressed up and have a safe space to be able to go out and enjoy," he said.

Submitted by Tye Shanahan

He left P.E.I. in 2007 but in recent years, when he's come back to visit, he's noticed the drag community is growing.

Josh Borges is part of that growing community. He performs as Demona DeVille.

He started his career in Toronto about a decade ago, but came home to P.E.I. three years ago and has been performing at shows on the Island ever since.

I thought it was something I would have enjoyed here as a kid, so I brought it back," Borges said.

When he came home he was unsure if there was an audience for drag.

"I figured it would be, you know, trial by fire we'll see if it works. Actually there were a couple others that were starting up when I came back as well so it ended up working out great," Borges said.

Businesses losing out?

However, Borges said there is still a shortage of venues dedicated to the LGBTQ community.

"A gay bar would really help, especially if there was a gay bar that could one night a week host a drag event, that would be fantastic," Borges said.

Submitted by Tye Shanahan

Mitchell MacLean created the P.E.I. Drag Facebook page and does not perform in drag, but is a fan of the craft and said sometimes it's difficult to book shows.

"It's difficult to get businesses on board to kind of what to do it because it is not something that happens consistently on P.E.I.," MacLean said.

MacLean said there is no place on P.E.I. where you can go "any night of the week and see a drag queen" like there is in other places on the east coast like Halifax.

"Honestly, the businesses that don't want to have a drag show are missing out, because I've done several successful events on P.E.I. There is money to be made and if they want to say no to a drag show it's really their loss," MacLean said.

Everyone welcome

Borges and Shanahan will be performing Saturday night at the Charlottetown Curling Club as part of P.E.I. Drag's New Queer's Eve event.

Other drag performers include Amber Flames, Gladys Saturday and Lady FeFe Fierce.

MacLean said one thing he often hears when putting drag events together is people thinking you have to be part of the LGBTQ community to attend a drag event.

"Anybody can go. So that's kind of why we are doing this to kind of cater specifically toward audiences that are interested in drag," he said.

More P.E.I. news