The revolution will be Crystalised
Drag Race UK’s Crystal designs their utopia
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
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
Drag is one of those things that as soon as you dip your toe in a little bit, you’re gonna get sucked in neck deep. That’s what’s happened to me. I get a lot of satisfaction out of creativity, being on stage, touring the world and showing people a really good night (wahey)! I am desperate and deranged in the pursuit of glamour.
… 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.
… 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
It’s an artwork in the Louvre where the guy’s got the biggest cakes. A fully nude Roman soldier holds a spear and his back is to the viewer of the painting. He has the best ass of any artwork I’ve ever seen. It’s worth a trip to Paris just to see this. It is impeccable.
… I would be not scared of looking stupid
This sounds stupid because I’m a drag queen. The fear of failure is such a barrier to success. It’s something that I will continue to spend my whole life trying to figure out. It’s amazing, isn’t it? I’m so self conscious all the time, it’s how I operate. The moments where I can get rid of that are my favourite moments. I would have done much better on Drag Race if I had been able to let go of that stuff. All that “fake it till you make it” stuff really works.
Photo by Wolf James
… everyone has listened to my podcast!
In The Things that made me Queer, I interview various inspirational queer icons and celebs about the things that were formative in helping them understand or embrace their queerness. It’s a compendium of queer moments for all sorts, featuring Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters, Mykki Blanco, Sam Sparro, It’s a Sin’s Omari Douglas, drag legend Peaches Christ, JD Samson from Le Tigre, MNEK, and lots of iconic Drag Race queens.
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!”
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