Taiwan drag queens bring their glamour to presidential office celebrating RuPaul win

By Thomson Reuters May 14, 2024 | 11:49 PM

By Ben Blanchard

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwanese drag queen Nymphia Wind celebrated last month’s win on RuPaul’s Drag Race by staging a riotous, emotional performance at Taiwan’s presidential office on Wednesday in front of President Tsai Ing-wen.

Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have championed LGBTQ+ rights making the island a bastion of liberal values, and in 2019 Taiwan legalised same-sex marriage in a first for Asia.

Nymphia Wind, the first person from East Asia to win the RuPaul’s Drag Race crown, lip-synched to three songs, including “Marry the night” by Lady Gaga and Taiwanese diva Huang Fei’s “Chase, chase, chase”, dressed in a resplendent yellow outfit.

Giving an athletic performance in the presidential office’s main entrance hall and under a bust of Sun Yat-sen who in 1911 founded the Republic of China, which remains Taiwan’s formal name, Nymphia was joined by five other drag queens for her final number, Jolin Tsai’s gender equality hit “Womxnly”.

“This is probably the first presidential office in the world to host a drag show,” Nymphia told Tsai after her performance, streamed live on the office’s YouTube, and thanking her for ensuring same-sex marriage came to pass.

“Thank you for your contributions to this country, so that I could grow up to be like this today,” she added, tearing up. “Thank you for your eight years of dedication, becoming our Taiwan mother.”

Tsai congratulated Nymphia again for her win.

“Shantay, you stay,” Tsai said, using one of RuPaul’s most well-known phrases for winning drag queens.

Taiwan’s capital Taipei hosts East Asia’s largest Pride march every October. Last year, Vice President Lai Ching-te, who takes office as president on Monday, marched at Pride becoming the most senior government leader ever to attend.

Nymphia was already a well-established artist on Taiwan’s thriving drag scene, often wearing over-the-top outfits inspired by bananas, and has done shows at Taiwanese temples and photo shoots at wet markets dressed as the yellow-skinned fruit, her trademark fashion expression.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)