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First Nations drag festival platforms Indigenous queens

Rudi Maxwell -
vic

When Cerulean struts her stuff for the First Nations Drag Festival, she wants to provide a platform for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

And she's not just talking about lending someone a favourite pair of sky-high heels."

The scene in itself is getting more diverse but for a long time, especially before COVID, it was very white man in a dress," Cerulean said.

"I feel like as a First Nations performer, it's important for people to see us."

Cerulean will host the First Nations drag event on Thursday at the Pride of our Footscray Community Bar as part of Melbourne's Midsumma Festival.

She first learned to dance from her grandparents, who ran a traditional Torres Strait Islander dance group in Cairns, then developed her skills with battles on the north Queensland city's esplanade.

"I was always surrounded by music and dancing and ... that was really cool looking back on it, basking in culture - not everyone gets to do that," Cerulean said.

The festival will include some questions and answers but don't expect it to be too political - it's mainly about having fun.

"I've always been attracted to bringing joy and happiness and queerness and I feel like it's also a part of my own journey," Cerulean said.

"It's almost like changing the narrative not only for First Nations but for queerness as well.

"History makes us look like victims ... but we've always been fighting for our rights, whether it be First Nations, whether it be queer, whether it be any marginalised community."

Cerulean wants to extend a helping hand to any young First Nations person who might be interested in drag.

And she wants them to know it's OK to be yourself, whoever that might be.

"I don't want to be 40 years old with a wig on," Cerulean said.

"So that's what I'm focusing on over the next few years: to really build up more First Nations performers to be able to fill spaces and fill my space - eventually."

Rudi Maxwell - AAP

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