Provoke astonishment and try to change the norms of the social life is a phenomenon increasing in Vietnam, a country in expansion where more and more novelties have emerged these last ten years. In the hot nights of Saigon and Hanoi, we find the Drag Queens. These unusual ‘creatures’ with an atypical look and a very neat physical. They are known from all but few are the ones who really know them. These gentlemen are dressed in gorgeous costumes and have a colorful make-up. Their appearance is sophisticated and once they are transformed, these artists enter into the skin of their character. Because, yes, the Drag Queens are above all actors in search of shows to illuminate the spectators’ eyes. They adopt a diva behavior, a bit disdainful, they wander among your guests and play with them. Spicy humor, spectacular costumes, the Drag Queens are there. But being a Drag Queen is a paradox. It’s showing a complexity that masks his sadness and his wounds with pettiness. Yes, they are mainly gay, but who cares about sexuality when talent is there? Being a Drag Queen is not just about an appearance. In addition, to know how to dress and put on makeup, a Queen must also be able to sing, dance, interact with the audience, to make it laugh without upsetting it … Another challenge and not the least is, as a Queen, to manage the people’s look. It’s a two-level coming out. Often, they have to do first a coming out as gay and then a coming out as a Drag Queen, and the second is often much more difficult.
Homosexuality has long been considered a “social scourge” in Vietnam, but tolerance is beginning to emerge in a country where family and tradition are still very important. Being accepted as homosexual is not the only challenge that the Drag Queens are facing, earning income is another. There are places, bars, clubs that employ these actors, but they are still too few, although it seems that the demand for these Queens of the night is increasing. In Vietnam, some of these artists have been active for a long time but are not yet recognized. Shows are a way to help people to discover, understand, and learn about the Drag Queen’ art. Vietnam is considered relatively progressive on the issue of homosexuality. The state has decriminalized homosexual marriage celebrations in 2015, the gay wedding is accepted, and today, the government has been drafting a transgender law to allow legal changes. Let’s hope these changes will help these passionate actors to take a step further.