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(SNO) – Popular New York-based Saint Lucian drag queen, Kevin Bertin, better known by the stage name Monét X Change, has said prominent local designer and entrepreneur, Sharmark Leon, has inspired her and the local gay community which continues to battle for equality.
Bertin, 28, made the comments on a video-article feature published by The Root, a United States (U.S.) online magazine that is renowned for black pop culture news and racism affecting African-Americans. The video was posted on Friday, June 22 on The Root’s Facebook page which has over 1.4 million fans.
The caption of the video states: “It’s hard to show #PRIDE for your sexuality when your culture has a history of shaming your very existence and @monetxchange shares her journey of growing as a gay man and also being Caribbean.”
Bertain states: “Growing up in the Caribbean, from the time I was one to 11 years old, there was no representation of gay men or lesbians or trans [people]. The only aspect of that I ever saw was when I used to go to St. Lucia Carnival every summer. There was this one tall gay dude, his name was Sharmark. He was like 6’5” and he would be in like a woman’s garment with like the bra and the panties and the thong, and like living his dreams, living his truth. But I remember feeling such an affinity and feeling inspired by this person that I had never known, that I still don’t know, but there was something about him being so un-apologetically himself. I was like, “Oh, this **** is fierce!”
Bertin said 25 years later she is now a drag queen on VH1, a U.S. cable and satellite television network based in New York City.
She competed on the 10th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she placed sixth – out of 14 queens – and was known on the show for her beauty, comedy, charisma, lipsyncs, and sponges, according to RuPaul’s Drag Race Wiki.
Bertin tells The Root that as a pioneer in the gay community it is not easy, but she is confident that the situation will improve.
“I cannot lie to you and say that it is going to be easy. I can’t lie to you to say that it’s going to just blow over. Anyone who was a pioneer of anything always has to take the harshest bullets and the biggest blows. With time, and as society is progressing… we are waking up to see that gay people are just like everybody else.
“If my conservative mother up in St. Lucia can watch VH1 and get into Drag Race, it shows that the growth of us as a society and as a community, to learn and grow from the experiences of LGBTQ plus IA, it is a learning curve. It will take time but I have full faith.”
Bertain first came to public spotlight in Saint Lucia when she was crowned queen of the 6th Annual Gay Caribbean USA Pageant on Sept. 27 at Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn, New York.
She was represented Saint Lucia as Monét X Change at the time. CLICK HERE TO SEE ARTICLE AND PHOTOS