MANAGUA (Reuters) – In a packed bar in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, on Friday night, more than 1,000 people gathered to see a group of drag queens battle it out to snatch the crown for best performance while representing several Central American countries.
The Mix Imperial Central American Tropical Drag Royale provided a stage for drag performers in a region where LGBT people often face discrimination and economic hardship.
“It’s a form of catharsis,” said Alexa Evangelista, a drag queen from El Salvador and one of the night’s performers, who lip-synched and danced for the adoring crowd.
A jury of the three finalists from the Royale’s first edition in 2019 crowned the winner, taking in to account the audience’s support.
“This type of platform gives visibility to queer artists that we don’t have in our countries in Central America, where we lack institutional and government support,” Evangelista said.
Drag queen Peppe Pig said the pageant gave her the opportunity to travel outside her home country of Guatemala, and that drag has helped her meet new friends and her current partner.
“Drag has really opened so many doors.”
Nicaraguan drag queen Akeyra Davenport took home the night’s crown in her first competition after 11 years as a drag artist.
“It gives me the initiative to keep moving forward, to continue pursuing one of many dreams that have left me behind,” she said.
(Reporting by Maynor Valenzuela in Managua; Writing by Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Matthew Lewis)