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The revolution will be Crystalised

Drag Race UK’s Crystal designs their utopia

Photo by Nik Pate | Image by TOPIA

The angle grinding RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star on the things that made them queer, freeing ourselves from binary – and boob lasers, Madonna, and Showgirls

Fashion, punk, and with a lot of spunk, Crystal is a drag queen and aerial circus artist who starred in the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

The “bitch from Shoreditch” is the first queen with visible body hair to walk the runway in Drag Race herstory. The stage name of Nova Scotia-raised Colin Munro Seymour, today Crystal is a mentor and judge on Canadian inclusive drag competition TV show Call Me Mother and lives in east London with their husband, where they run a raucous, cutting edge club night called Mimi’s. The third season of their podcast, The Things that made me Queer, launches later this year.

My World of Good is a new TOPIA series where we ask revolutionaries to to imagine better. We asked Crystal to share their ideal world.

Crystal: “In My World of Good”

… we can all be superheroes

Photo by Nik Pate

I was obsessed with X-Men in the 90s – the big butts, big boobs, big muscles and big guns. I thought if I wished hard enough, I would develop a mutant power. When I was a teenager, I was really lonely and isolated and didn’t have any friends. So X-Men was my escapism, my way of being like, “It’s cool to be an outsider and other, and I probably have some secret power!” Turns out my secret power is GAY.

The beautiful thing about becoming a drag queen is that you do get to become a superhero. You get to wear all the outfits that you were obsessed with as a kid, get all the attention – and fight crime with lasers from your boobs.

I get to make people smile

there will be no misogyny within the gay community

It’s far too late in the game for us to still be playing those games. It’s a rite of passage that a lot of gay men go through of being shitty towards women, so it’s rife in gay spaces where they feel like they own it. Places need to be fully inclusive and not need segregated spaces by gender. Everyone should handle being in each other’s spaces. I see that happening. All of the young queers today are so ahead of the game compared to where I was at their age. Stuffy gay nights with hundreds of men in leather harnesses is becoming a thing of the past as we see more spaces where all queer people are welcome.

… everyone has read The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

It’s a gorgeous gay coming of age story sent in London at the dawn of the HIV crisis. It tells a story of a world that’s on the cusp of changing. It really shows what the world could have been if HIV, AIDS hadn’t happened. It’s beautiful and powerful and devastating.

The Line Of Beauty (2004) is a story of love, class, sex and money set in the Thatcherite 80s – it was adapted by BBC Two in 2014

we are free from this boring fucking binary

We need to stop seeing gender as something that’s rigid and listen to trans activists, especially those who come from a sex worker or sex positive background. The whole Western world is wrapped up in shame. It’s so bizarre, this hangover from religion and Christianity. It’s not going to end in my lifetime but it we need to keep chipping away and stop seeing sex as something evil.

we listen to trans activists

Go listen to some queer theory and trans people talk much more eloquently about it than I will. Shon Faye wrote a great book called The Transgender Issue which sets out like the current state of trans rights and what needs to be done. Another person I really admire is Lucia Blayke, who is one of the cofounders of London Trans Pride and runs a club night called Harpies, which is Europe’s first LGBTQI+ inclusive strip club that focuses on promoting trans and queer bodies. 

… everyone has watched Showgirls

It’s my favourite movie of all time, I’m constantly quoting it. The world would be a lot better if people could understand what I was talking about a little bit more. So when I talk about “eating dog food”, or being from “different places” everyone gets my reference!

the soundtrack would be Madonna’s Immaculate Collection

I made my friend buy her Greatest Hits for me in high school because I was too embarrassed to buy a Madonna CD, but I knew I needed it. Madonna has been the soundtrack of my gay life my entire life, even before I understood what gay was. Although, the last song I want to hear before I die would be Peaches, ‘Fuck the Pain Away’. If you’re listening to that, you’re probably having a great time and going out on a high.

everyone gets to see ‘The Intervention of the Sabine Women’ up close

The Intervention of the Sabine Women,  Jacques-Louis David, 1799

I would be not scared of looking stupid

Photo by Wolf James

everyone has listened to my podcast!

I will call this gay utopia ‘Crystal Palace

It’s time to reclaim London’s Crystal Palace from football and dinosaurs and into drag. Did you know there are weird dinosaurs sculptures there? They were made by the Victorians who didn’t know what dinosaurs looked like, so they’re really mangled. My Crystal Palace will feel like the best of Burning Man and the motto would be…

“You do you, babes!”

Welcome to Crystal Palace | Photo by Peter Fingleton

Crystal was talking to the less glamorous, but also deranged TOPIA editor Lisa Goldapple, who used to maraud around Sitges with Colin in five euro drag while extolling the virtues of Ashley Judd. Follow Crystal’s activism with attitude: @crystal.will.see.you.now

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