A 10-year-old drag star is front-and-centre in New York City Pride’s advertising campaign.
The Pride event this week launched its theme and branding for the 2018 Pride festival – which will have the slogan ‘Defiantly Different’.
As part of the campaign, the event has released an ad featuring 10-year-old drag superstar Desmond Napoles, knwown as ‘Desmond is Amazing’.
In the clip, Desmond says: “I identify as an androgynous drag kid. I am different because I am very young and doing drag at a very young age.
“It makes me feel amazing. It gives me courage and also gives other people courage to do what they want.”
The campaign will also feature curator Kiyanna Stewart, transgender model Pêche Di, and 94-year-old community activist, Frances Goldin, known for her ‘I Love My Lesbian Daughters’ sign at the annual NYC Pride March.
The participants were all photographed by portrait photographer, Danielle Levitt.
NYC Pride says: “Defiantly Different speaks to the breadth of the LGBTQ+ community as a unified people and our tenacious individuality.
“Defiantly Different celebrates the rallying cry of generations who laid the groundwork for equality, the next wave of creative thinkers prepared to score their own trails, and each distinctive individual in between.”
David Studinski, NYC Pride Co-Chair said: “This year’s theme is about showing our power, squaring our shoulders in the face of adversity, and continuing to sculpt that magnetic bond within the LGBTQ+ community and our allies.
“The corresponding creative showcases a wide selection of defiantly different community members – from performance artists to mental health advocates. We are standing defiantly – defiantly different and defiantly as one.”
It added that the theme also “takes an unflinching stance in response to the Trump administration’s substandard position on the LGBTQ+ community”.
NYC Pride 2018 will take place from June 14 to June 24 – including the NYC Pride March, PrideFest, Pride Island, and new events ubckydubg the Human Rights Conference, GameChangers, and culinary event, Savor Pride.
Desmond previously set up the first drag club for children.
The performer, who identifies as a genderfluid boy, describes himself on Instagram as “a Drag Kid, Dragutante, and Dragketeer doing what I like to call Kinderdrag. I’m a total Drag Slayer”.
The New York City resident added: “I call my style ‘androgynously’ and my looks ‘avantdrag’.
“I’m inspired by Alig, Richie Rich and all of the Club Kids, RuPaul, Nelson Sullivan, Marsha P. Johnson, the Blitz Kids, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Commes Des Garçons, AltDrag, and do-it-yourself drag.
“I design my own outfits. I’m also an LGBTQ advocate and gay youth.
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“My motto is ‘Be Yourself, Always’.”
He adds that growing up, he would “endlessly clomp up and down the hallway in his mother’s high heels (and still does).”
Desmond’s parents, his website explains, accepted Desmond’s desire to dress in drag after they realised that their uneasiness came “from their own misgivings about how the outside world would react.
“It was as simple as defeating those feelings, accepting Desmond as he is, and respecting Desmond’s own tastes and preferences.”
“If somebody says that it’s not okay to be LGBTQ,” he said, “then just tell them to pay it no mind because they will not be as jolly and holly as the person who is getting bullied by that person that says it’s not good to be LGBTQ.”
The 10-year-old urged other kids to be true to themselves.
“Express your inner you because when you express your inner you, it’s much better to deal with negative people,” he said.