Representation matters! In Nairobi, Kenya, a group of gay, transgender and nonbinary volunteers at queer health collective Ishtar spoke with The Guardian about how RuPaul’s Drag Race gave them the courage to create a community.
Toyo (shown below) and Miss K are members of The Dolls. Their group started as just four people, but now there are already over 35 members.
Via The Guardian:
Volunteering at Ishtar, Toyo found a sense of community and began thinking about how she could spread the word. She had done some modelling and had a large following on Instagram, so teamed up with other volunteers and started experimenting with fashion, makeup and performing.
Then she saw RuPaul’s Drag Race – a US reality television show that documents a search for drag stars – and was immediately inspired. “I saw myself in RuPaul – I could get into character, look perfect, everyone was happy. Then I got out of character and no one could remember me. It’s like you’re two people in one body,” she says.
“We could only do these events, wear the clothes and makeup, at Ishtar. Outside, we are very different people.”
The Ishtar website has lots more information on the work they do to prevent and treat HIV and other STIs.
Ishtar MSM is a group member of the Gay & Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK). Our success at Ishtar can be attributed to our ever active and friendlier staff, from the entry level to the top leadership our staff have proven to be welcoming, hardworking and respectful. Talk to us anytime.
Here’s to The Dolls’ continued success, Toyo!
Image: Pexels / Ekaterina Bolovtsova