Drag queens invited to speak at North Carolina school amidst rampant bullying of LGBTQ students
Drag queens Vivica Coxx and Stormie Daie of House of Coxx attended the event to help students understand what it means to be different
A middle school in Durham, North Carolina, invited two drag queens to speak to students last month after multiple reports of LGBTQ students leaving the school because of rampant bullying.
The drag queens — Vivica Coxx and Stormie Daie of House of Coxx — attended the event to help students understand what it means to be different.
Coxx reportedly oversees a drag troupe and is also chair of Pride: Durham, where she works with the city's different LGBTQ communities and coordinates the annual Pride Parade. While Daie of House of Coxx is a former teacher and also an LGBTQ activist.
"When I was on the panel, I saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate to the students that you can be happy and have been through something," Coxx, after attending the event, said. "But more importantly, everyone is deserving of happiness and capable of having love in their life. They deserve good things. And I wanted to be that example, someone who has been through something and came out on top."
Taylor Schmidt, an eighth-grade teacher at the school, and his colleague, Schara Brooks, saw how bullying was affecting the LGBTQ children at the Central Park School for Children and decided to organize the schoolwide event for the students.
"Our drive was to remove barriers to success, belonging and the ability to thrive for all students," Schmidt said. "It called for a hard look at the roots of these behaviors and intentional actions to liberate not just the bullied from oppressive acts, but the bully from the oppressive root causes of their actions," CNN reported.
Reports state that both the performers talked about their experiences in middle school and how they were not accepted while growing up.
The pair said that it is key to celebrate individual differences.
"I thought they must be feeling so empowered to see someone being themselves on stage," Coxx told CNN about the students. "Visibility matters, and seeing a queer person of color on stage saying 'this is me' has an impact that no one can really measure."
While Daie said that she hoped the students would take the event seriously.
"You hope that the children listen to this," she said, "so that they know we didn't have this when we were growing up. We weren't seeing people like us being celebrated."
The House of Coxx drag house has advocated racial and social issues in the region for years. The pair are generally asked to such events in the community raising awareness about racial and social justice.