Drag queen pushes for diversity

Danielle RaffaeleNorth West Telegraph
Ayleesha Tryed.
Camera IconAyleesha Tryed. Credit: Carly Laden

A North West drag queen who was once told she would “never be an entertainer” in Perth due to her Aboriginality says the WA LGBTQI+ community is “way behind” the rest of the nation in accepting people of colour.

Port Hedland resident and former Kimberley Queen Ayleesha Tryed, pictured, has urged LGBTQI+ community leaders to give more people of colour a seat at the table in an emotional call to diversify drag so that young Indigenous people have role models to look up to.

Ms Tryed recently used Facebook to share her thoughts about the lack of diversity in drag, saying more awareness was needed to understand the racism that Indigenous people faced in the industry.

“Indigenous people have suffered generational trauma, genocide and constant racial profiling,” she said.

“WA’s LGBTQI+ community is way behind the rest of Australia with the lack of people of colour ... in most events either by choice due to receiving discrimination in the past or by not being invited to sit at the same table as the rest of the WA LGBT community.”

In 2019 in Perth, Ms Tryed said she was told by a non-Indigenous performer she would “never be a drag entertainer in the City of Perth” because of her race.

Ms Tryed said support in the Pilbara had been “absolutely amazing” and she hoped to inspire the “next generation” of young Indigenous people to be authentic.

“The main thing I wanted to get out (performing) was to be able to give younger generations of people of colour and LGBT (people) someone one to look up to and think that’s what I identify as whether that be gay lesbian, trans. That’s something that I wanted to give back to the community ... and make it known that there are people within the community who are as talented and as deserving of opportunities just as much as the Indigenous performers and entertainment.”

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