Photo credit: Carol Muller
Hannah Conda shared her story at the sell-out premiere of My Drag Story at Mardi Gras 2021. Hear from a brand spanking, glittering, new lineup at the Pride Weekender edition of My Drag Story on June 19. Details HERE.
If you have any understanding of the Catholic religion, you know you begin and end your prayers by saying “the father, the son and the holy spirit”.
However in my life, I raise this with “my nans, my mum and the overtly gay son”.
Three women, my holy trinity, have helped my life in more ways than they will ever know.
I grew up in WA which allowed for a childhood of playing and creating. I would flesh out my characters. The reason I loved these games was because I had a yearning to find my tribe.
A place that I found solace in my formidable years was the Catholic Church.
A gay child finding themselves in the church, what a cliché. Stories of the saints made my imagination run wild, so majestic especially when immortalised on the silver screen by old Hollywood.
I was my Nanna C’s golden child. The woman encouraged my younger self to explore the world of priesthood. Yet, to contradict this, she was also the one who introduced me to the starlets of old Hollywood and Disney.
In hindsight she was forging two prospective paths for me to take, ironically both with the potential of wearing some kind of dress.
When I reached high school, my world started to shake.
I’d always known I was different to other boys because instead of wanting to be Batman, I wanted to love Batman.
I didn’t have a word for it until I was called ‘gay’ by some pre-pubescent kid. Gay is exactly what I was, in further research it was something that completely contradicted my path. I couldn’t be gay, and, in the church, I’d burn in hell!
Year 10 religion, we are casually chatting about the bible and the topic of homosexuality was raised.
It began with a question from school tough guy:
“Miss, why can’t gay people get married?”
“Well you can be gay, but you can’t act on it. You cannot commit sins of the flesh. You have to live a celibate life. It’s not that hard.”
I was sitting in class petrified that they had found out about my dirty little secret.
I had just witnessed someone defending what I was trying to hide.
After a year of getting comfortable with my newly liberated self, I decided to explore boys. Living my best gay life, befriending all the gays of Perth, I built up a group of people that had my back.
I decided to tell a fellow gay that I liked him. He hardcore rejected me.
In my rage, I remember storming around the house and in storms my mum with a statement that rocked my world, “STOP BEING DRAMATIC, WE ALL KNOW YOUR GAY!”
How long had she known? Mums always know. My parents were wonderful and loving. My Mum is a resilient soul, she and Dad have allowed the three of us to be open about our feelings.
I turned 18 and hit the clubs! The music started and on stomped 3 large ladies dancing and lip-syncing, I was enamoured. I asked who they were, they said some of Perth’s best drag queens. Next morning I googled what drag was.
A friend had just started dabbling in drag and said I should give it a go. I would do it one time and one time only. But I felt untouchable. This promise was broken. I went from dipping my toe in the pond to throwing my whole body in. Mum and Dad came to a show and were amazed to see how far their shy son had come.
Five years passed and I was dominating the Perth scene. I decided I would move to Sydney. But before I did, I needed to be honest with my Nanna C. I created a portfolio and took the drive down to Nan and Pop’s house. They were amazed and glowing with Pride. I realised that some of the residual preconceived notions I had from the church held me back from allowing my Nan into my glitter world for fear of rejection.
From these incredibly different women in my life, I have been allowed to shape and find the fierce goddess that lives inside of me.
Faith is individual and faith should not hold you back from being a truly good and loving person.
Yes, I wear dresses for a living and my lifestyle still may be taboo to some, but I live authentically and remember to look in the mirror every day and say “I AM FABULOUS!”