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Mother’s Day drag brunch focuses on love, positivity and inclusivity in Riverview, N.B.

Surrounded with love, loud music and glamourous makeup, drag performers put on a show for Mother’s Day with an important message

“You don’t have to fit into the male stereotype,” said drag queen Nova Gyna.

“You can play with Barbie and that’s OK. You can be the Barbie and that’s amazing! So there’s lots to play with and it’s just dress-up. We’re little princesses today and showing kids they can be whatever they want to be.”

Over 100 people were in attendance for the family-friendly event, which saw performers sing kid-friendly favourites. They also censored their stage names to be age appropriate for everyone.

“I want to try and break the stigma. We’re not dangerous, we’re not going to attack you or say anything bad,” she said.

The event was seen as a space for people to showcase inclusivity and positivity. For many, it was also a chance to be allies for the next generation.

Shelia Furlong was there with her two daughters, Stephanie and Zoe. She says being accepting is something that was a part of their upbringing.

“Just like with race and religion, it doesn’t matter your sexuality,” she said. “It doesn’t matter. It should be more about the person, who they are, their character, their integrity, not judging them or generalizing based on rumors, or out of fear or propoganda.”

“My mom raised us since we were very small to be accepting of everybody no matter what you look like and I think it’s very important to get out here and support people who are just coming into it and trying to learn things and make sure that there are spaces for these people,” Zoe added.

Stephanie, who is currently pregnant, is thinking ahead to the environment her child will grow up in.

“I think it’s very important to raise the next generation to be very inclusive, very thoughtful about what you think of others, what you say and how you treat people,” she said.

Open to all ages, Sabrina Matinez brought her 22-month-old son, hoping these experiences will help shape him as he grows up.

“It’s incredibly important for me to have him grow up and be super inclusive and accepting and understanding of people and their differences,” she said. “He himself is a little mixed, I myself am a little mixed, so being accepting is incredibly important to us.”

While Sunday’s event was a happy one, it comes amid backlash and hatred that many in the pride community are facing.

“For this event, we had a lot of hate online, but instead of having hate, just have questions. I’m more than happy to answer the questions,” said Gyna.

Recently, protests have been seen at pride and drag events and in New Brunswick the government is currently reviewing Policy 713, which lays out a minimum requirement for school districts to create a safe welcoming environment.

“It is very sad to see that they would review 713 as it was something that took a lot of effort to put in place,” said drag performer Anastasia.

She says the policy didn’t exist when she was in school and she remembers staying late to talk with the school board and fight for change.

“Honestly, it’s on the side of the government that I would like to see change,” she said. “I would like to see big names in the government stand next to drag and be like, ‘This is OK.’ That’s what I’d like to see.”

Both Anastasia and Gyna say they have seen improvements in New Brunswick, but a lot still needs to be done.

“I think it’s part of a trend over time that when rights are secured, there’s always a backlash,” said St. Thomas University Professor Jamie Gillies. “But what I find particularly problematic with the kind of hate that’s going on currently is that it’s being mainstreamed and largely by right-winged political parties staying silent.”

He adds that what’s being seen today with groups protesting drag and pride events is disgraceful and unproductive.

“My issue in New Brunswick is that it’s up to politicans and government leaders and community leaders to stand up to hate and I don’t see the premier or people like Kris Austin and Pierre Poilievre doing that. I think they see this group protesting events like this as potential voters,” he said.

Adding, “It’s up to all of us to fight for these rights again. I think it’s just a reminder that you always have to stay vigilant and you always have to fight for these groups.”

As for Sunday’s performers, they say they’re focusing on spreading positivity.

“At the end of the day, we’re just here to show our art, show who we are, and at the end of the day, the kids love us,” said Anastasia.

“We’re little princesses.” Top Stories

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