On August 18, Guides Québec participated in the Montreal Pride Parade for the first time. Laura (a current Spark Leader) and Lisa (a former member and soon-to-be Leader) combined the skills they learnt through Guiding and their passion for performing as drag queens with great success. This is a piece they wanted to share to talk about their experience:
Photo credit: Patrick Sicotte
So many small things brought us to this point. Here we were, looking like 5-foot-tall Sparks who just consumed too many s’mores, marching through a sea of rainbow flags and glitter. How did we get here? Why were preteens walking down Rene-Levesque boulevard flanked by drag queens? And where did these colourful clowns even come from? Well to explain it all we’re going to have to take you back to the start of our story.
Photo credit: Isabella
Even though we both grew up in different Canadian provinces, we share very similar, fond memories of our experiences as Girl Guides. Lisa grew up in Montague, P.E.I., and was a Girl Guide there and Laura began in sparks in Pincourt District here in Québec, and is now 23, so you can do the math there! We both have Guiding sisters that we are still in contact with and we have Leaders who played a strong part in influencing who we are today. From camps, to local community activities, to working on badges of our own accord, Guiding taught us a variety of different life skills. However, never in a million years, did either of our mothers think their girls would end up donning wigs and becoming drag queens. Nor could they predict that the skills we learnt in Guiding would give us an upper hand in the drag world.
Photo credit: Andrea Munster
On top of the obvious lessons learned from sewing, performing arts, music and arts & crafts badges, the constant messages about girl empowerment equipped us with the courage and brazenness to pursue a passion we both had. It just so happened that the drag community is historically male-dominated, but luckily we came prepared. While drag is traditionally known as a man dressing & performing as a woman, as society becomes more open to the LGBTQ+ community, more women have become active members in the drag scene too. With that has come a variety of discussions, and in some cases kickback, about women’s place in portraying gender and the validity of us doing drag. To which we say: girls can.
Photo credit: Andrea Munster
So when we got the opportunity to combine our Guiding life with our drag life, we jumped at the opportunity. Being the well trained Girl Guides that we were, we met to plan ideas for how we wanted to make a big and colourful splash at the parade. After sketching ideas, fabric shopping, sewing, hot glue gunning (a skill we can definitely say applies to both Guiding and drag), finding practical shoes, early rising, painting (our faces) and packing backpacks, we were on our way to meet up with the other Guiders and girls marching in the parade. Fast forward 2.7 km and the whole parade is a a blur of dancing, bubble blowing, huge smiles and high-fiving any kids we passed in the crowd. For both of us, getting to be a part of the Montreal Pride Parade for the first time was an incredible experience and that’s thanks to being able to do it with a group of girls and women who share our goal of uplifting, connecting with, and mentoring girls to celebrate not only our strengths, but especially our differences.
Be prepared and power on,
Laura (Fawn Darling) & Lisa (Lizzy Strange)