A burka, flames and a dynamite-stick corset are just as much a part of this drag queen’s set as the lipstick, wigs and eyelashes. But she’s not making any excuses — or apologies.
Donnarama, one of Toronto’s most popular drag performers, is under fire for a Dec 16 Woody’s performance some are calling Islamophobic. The routine, which the entertainer has been performing since at least 2009, has the gay community divided on the line between artistic expression and racism.
“As an artist I regret nothing, as a person I want to communicate,” Donnarama wrote in an email chat Dec 19. “I usually take great pride in my creations . . . But I’m not happy about this, upsetting people is not my intention.”
One of those she upset is 27-year-old social worker Rahim Thawer, who brought the performance to light.
On the night of Dec 16, Thawer wanted to end an average weekend on a high. Attending a Church Street drag show seemed the perfect option. But the Donnarama performance was not what he was looking for. “I’m very aware of the drag world and the way it uses race in different ways,” Thawer says. “But nothing has been quite so appalling.”