The first time Masoudae Rezvani competed in a drag competition — they won.
In the six months since that performance, Rezvani has become a regular participant in the amateur drag shows at LUSH, a queer bar in northeast Minneapolis.
Rezvani, a linguistics junior at the University of Minnesota, identifies as gender non-binary. As their drag persona — Heda Thrasher — they are one of many queer performers changing the face of drag.
The art of drag has been a critical element of LGBTQIA expression and community since the rise in its popularity in the ’70s and ’80s in large urban centers, like New York City.
Traditionally consisting of gay, cis-gender men dressing as women, the definition of drag is constantly evolving as individuals who exist outside of the gender binary continue to gain visibility and perform.
“For me, drag means being able to bend gendered expectations while expressing myself creatively and building a community based on art and acceptance,” Rezvani said.
Cultural icons like RuPaul and Divine have helped bring drag to the masses through television and film, but local communities are what truly keep the culture thriving.
Rezvani participates in the local drag community at LUSH while also balancing school and work. Though time-consuming and often expensive, the hobby is ultimately rewarding. “Drag is an artistic expression of myself,” Rezvani said.
Minnesota Daily photographer Maddy Fox followed Rezvani through a performance night on March 23.