In the last article, I met with the amazing Poppy Love (Drag Dad) and sent him some questions about his experience of drag and being a supportive parent to his son. This is part 2 of the interview!
What is the story behind your Drag name ‘Poppy Love’?
‘I was asked to come up with her name, I ran through Disco Donna, Suzie Sparkles. My autistic grandson used to call me Poppy and I would always say when we cuddled ‘come for some Poppy Love’. I thought it would be a good name to express my love as a dad & Poppy – the Drag Queens there loved it too!’
What was it like leading Dover Pride alongside Owen in 2019?
‘We were asked to lead Dover’s first ever Pride by Future Foundry. We were up at 6 am, nervous and excited. He did my Poppy make-up for the first time. Our house, full of high heels, glitter, [and] left in rainbows & banners. We led with the Mayor, greeted by hundreds. The pride flag flew at Dover Castle on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Afterwards, we performed together at the Town Hall. I was proud to give a Drag Dad speech for parental acceptance.’
What is your ‘Dad Speech’ and how did you feel when writing and speaking it?
‘I’m not a Drag Queen like Owen, I am a Drag Dad, in a unique position to show support for my son and share our story of parental acceptance and our pride journey. I wanted to express how proud I am as a dad and to give a message of hope to parents. I wrote how I’ve come full circle, just because you don’t know about something, doesn’t make it wrong. My son is Queer, bicurious and a Drag Queen & I love him and stand by him. Many lose touch with their parents through ignorance and fear, missing out on years of love. I was able to perform with him, give my speech, then introduce him as Miss Lilli Berlin!’
Any encouraging words for parents whose children have come out to them?
‘Don’t panic or over-react. Listen to what they have to say, they know how they are feeling, who they want to be better than you. Show them respect for being brave. Don’t get hung up on what others may think. Give yourself time and tell your child how you feel, they will appreciate honesty rather than silence. Ask questions no matter how silly. Don’t expect to understand everything, you don’t need to. It’s natural and how they were born. We’re all different. I accepted first then understood in time – that’s OK. They need your acceptance and love, march with them, don’t lose them. The most important [thing] is to listen.’
What advice would you give to those who are scared or anxious to come out to their parents?
‘I appreciate it could be the hardest thing to tell parents your sexuality, especially when you feel they won’t understand. My advice is to be yourself. Being honest with your parents is the best policy. Give them time and space to come to terms, they need to learn how to accept this great news. Ask them to listen to everything you have to say and to ask questions. Their questions may seem silly. Be patient. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to accept Owen. Love always wins.’
As a Drag Dad what advice would you give someone trying out drag for the first time or trying to support someone who does drag?
‘When I first met the Family Gorgeous it was like aliens arriving at my football club. I have learnt drag is [an] expression of your inner self, who you want to be. Whether it’s your inner Diva, your inner fabulous, it doesn’t matter. Drag can be all sorts of things, there’s no right or wrong. There can be kings and queens straight or Queer. Although there are traditional preconceptions, it is a positive, sparkling antidote in our society today. The Drag artists I’ve met so far have always been brave, kind, intelligent, and glorious and my life has been enriched by their positivity. I have found drag empowering and I am proud and lucky to have had the chance to go through the journey. Please support diversity, freedom of expression and stay sassy.’
Follow Poppy Love and Miss Lilli Berlin on Instagram at: @poppy.love.927 and @miss_lilli_berlin. Go watch Drag SOS – out now on Netflix!