ADDED ON: 06/28/2022

How drag is revitalizing queer culture in rural Canada and smaller cities like Kingston.

06/27/2022 | Maclean's

There were families, university students, seniors—a kaleidoscope of people draped in rainbow flags. Some arrived in drag, adorned in multicoloured outfits. Saturday’s Pride parade in Kingston, Ontario, saw the biggest turnout ever in its 30-year history as more than 3,000 locals took to the streets to celebrate. Queer culture is being revived in Canadian towns like Kingston, where the pandemic helped bring it into the mainstream, empowering the community in the process and creating safe spaces. Six years ago, local drag performer Rowena Whey left her hometown. “I actually ended up leaving Kingston because I didn’t feel like there was much of a supportive queer community,” says Whey, who started performing in Edmonton before recently returning home. “When I moved back it wasn’t about finding a community—it was about building the community.”

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