Dragging Out the Truth: Joshi Lang on Sexuality, Identity, and Art.
by Guillermo Seis
Drag is more than just a performance art. It is a way of expressing one’s identity, and sexuality, often in the face of social stigma and discrimination. For Joshi Lang, also known as @dopa_mania, drag has been a source of empowerment and liberation, as well as a creative outlet. In this interview, Joshi opens up about the often misunderstood drag and sexuality and desire, sharing his personal journey towards self-discovery and acceptance, hoping to inspire others with his craft.
How has your journey in drag art influenced your understanding of sexual identity and expression?
Being queer is not just a label for me, but a vital aspect of my identity and a source of personal growth. I have gone through many challenges and transformations in my journey of self-acceptance, from feeling alienated and insecure as a young boy to exploring and embracing my differences as a teenager to living proudly and openly as a gay man today. I no longer try to separate my sexuality from my personality but rather celebrate the richness and diversity of who I am. Drag has been a powerful medium for me to overcome my fears and insecurities about my body and gender expression. I think many queer men struggle with the pressure to conform to certain norms of masculinity and femininity and internalize the stigma of being “too gay” or “too feminine”. Drag allows me to break free from these stereotypes and experiment with different forms of expression.
Many drag queens describe their personas as an extension of their true selves. Can you share how your drag persona relates to your own sexual identity and experiences?
Creating a drag persona is not just a matter of aesthetics, but also a way of questioning and challenging the social norms that shape our identities. Drag forces me to confront my own assumptions and prejudices, and to discover new aspects of myself. It is not a superficial act, but a deeply personal and artistic one. I can transform myself into anyone and anything I want, but the question is: who do I want to be? However, drag is not a part of my sexual identity, but rather my art and my work. It is a performance that I create and share with others.
What role do you believe drag plays in challenging and reshaping societal attitudes toward sexual expression and exploration?
Drag is a radical and subversive form of expression that challenges and reshapes societal norms and expectations of what is “acceptable”. It exposes the rigidity and narrowness of the dominant narratives of masculinity and manhood that we are socialized with. Drag provokes strong and polarized reactions from society, either hostility or admiration because it defies and transcends the boundaries of what is considered “normal”. Drag is a rebellious act that questions and redefines the norms and values of our culture.
How do you balance the public persona of a drag queen, which often involves sensuality and sexuality, with your personal life and relationships, and how does this affect your sexual wellness?
Drag is a form of art that often explores and challenges the boundaries of sexuality and sensuality. But for me, drag is not a reflection of my personal sexual identity or desires. When I perform in drag, I create a character that is separate from myself. I do not feel any sexual attraction or arousal while I am in drag, partly because the physical reality of drag is often uncomfortable and limiting. (I have to wear a corset, a lot of makeup, wigs, heels, and so on.) I have sometimes faced difficulties in reconciling my drag persona with my personal sex life, especially when I notice that people do not understand or respect the difference between these two aspects of me.
How do you ensure that your sexual relationships are healthy, consensual, and respectful, and what are your boundaries and communication strategies?
Communication is essential for any healthy relationship, but especially for sexual ones. It is important to talk to your partner, ask questions, check-in, and express your boundaries or concerns. When I think of the times that I had difficulties in sexual situations, they often involved contexts or people that did not foster open conversations, and also my lack of awareness of my boundaries. Knowing your boundaries and knowing how to communicate them is a crucial step for a healthy sex life. And also recognizing that boundaries can vary depending on the situation, so it helps to check in with yourself regularly.
How do you envision a more inclusive and fulfilling sexual culture that embraces diverse sexual identities and expressions, and how can we work towards it?
Queer culture is more inclusive than the mainstream, but it still has a long way to go. There is still a lot of prejudice and discrimination against femininity, diversity of body shapes, and gender expressions, especially among gay men. But I think our community is in a process of learning and growing and finding out who we are and how we relate to each other. Since queer culture and community had to be hidden and oppressed for a long time, we often lack role models and guidance on many issues. And I think people often overlook how different the needs and challenges of people within the queer community can be. But I think the variety within the LGBTIQ+ community is one of our greatest strengths, even if it can sometimes cause conflicts.
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