International LGBTQ+ Pride Day Spotlight: Unveiling the Activism and Glamour of Political Drag Artist Jayde Justyce
Welcome to a captivating conversation with Jayde Justyce (She/He/They), an extraordinary 19-year-old drag artist making waves in the vibrant Arizona drag scene.
Jayde's performances transcend the boundaries of entertainment, tackling pressing issues ranging from gun violence to the existing drag bans within their home state. In this exclusive interview, our writer, AJ Craig, delves into Jayde's recent projects, go-to makeup essentials, and admiration for the talented Rina Sawayama.
AJ: First and foremost, let me express my genuine admiration for your incredible work. It's truly inspiring to witness someone as young as you fearlessly pursuing their passion during these challenging times. I'm thrilled to explore your unique perspective through these thought-provoking questions.
So to start off with, I think it would be really cool for you to introduce yourself to our readers! If you could summarise in roughly a couple of sentences?
Jayde: Hello hello! Thank you so much for being able to meet with me and share my story. I always like to say that, you know, art supports art and what we create together is truly special. Whether this be performance art, visual art, vocal, writing, etc. art uplifts each other. We have to support each other. Thank you to darling for this wonderful opportunity.
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jayde Justyce (They/She).
I am a Arizona based Drag Artist with a passion for change! I am a believer in all things fashion, performance, and community! I am the future of America, the future of drag, the future of the world.
AJ: What does being queer mean to you personally?
Jayde: Answering the question .. is so loaded! It’s so full. It’s something that makes me look up from my laptop and stop and think.
However, to me, being queer means rebellion. I’m queer through and through. I hate using saying that I am gay. I believe that there is a FINE line between the queer community and the gay community.
To me, being queer means breaking the binary. Binary on class, gender, race, etc. It’s an umbrella term to describe so much of my existence. I take such pride in the word queer. Where others may identify as gay, accepting assimilation into the ranks of society, to be queer is to be free. To transcend the structured world and create your own. I have done just that. I have and continue to make the world I want.
AJ: Here at Darling we have team members from all over the world but I live in the UK. As a queer person myself, I try to understand global LGBTQIA issues as much as possible so could you give me some insight into what the state of affairs is like in the US at the moment? Particularly in your home state?
Jayde: I think that that is also what makes you such a valid member of the queer community as well. To understand the global dynamics of the LGBTQIA2S+ Community is to recognize our existence in the global village.
We are a community, our assimilation forces us to recognize so much of our individual community rather than the global community that we exist in. With that being said, the western world’s further descent into bigotry continues to wreck havoc on the United States.
The United States is currently in a culture war, to which i see no end in sight nor am i virtual searching for that end due to the need to understand where this war started in the first place. In the United States we have a two party political system that divides our states now “red and blue state”, “democrat controlled or republican controlled”, our legislature is controlled by both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in that one side controls one chamber while another controls the other. Our Democratic President, Joe Biden, has been relatively successful in his first term.
However, not much has really changed since his election in 2020. The state of Arizona, my state, is currently democratic led for the first time in more than a decade. However, our legislature is republican controlled. Nothing has changed. Arizona is currently labeled a “safe state” for LGBTQIA2S+ Citizens for the next two years because we have a democratic governor who continues to veto harmful anti-queer bills from the legislature.
These include SB1001, a bill allowing parents to remove curriculum and censor parts of the education system in order to limit inclusive language, SB1028 which I life to call SB 10-20-HATE which is our drag ban focusing on restricting drag shows to only strip clubs and licensed ares within certain times of the day. There are so many more bills. This happens in every state. Notoriously is the state of Florida which has now made laws calling for the detransitioning of trans youth, allowing the state to remove trans children from parents in the name of “protecting the child” from gender affirming care, and so much more.
Families are considering fleeing states. I do not blame them. It’s scary here in the United States. However, there is no room to shame the United States. There is a fight to be won here, we need all the help we can get. Further judgement, remarks of how much better other countries are, etc. only makes for more victims rather than coalition. These harmful politicians within the United States will not last forever, the queer community will. We will prevail.
AJ: With the drag ban seemingly spilling over the entirety of the US right now, could you explain for those who don’t know what effect this ban has had on artists like yourself and your peers?
Jayde: These bans that are coming out are, at their core, an attempt to completely erase transgender and gender non conforming individuals. It is the beginning stages of a genocide. It is a cultural genocide.
For trans individuals who rely on drag as a source of income and safety in community, criminalizing these spaces make for increased hate crimes, police activity, and more. I could go on.
However, I say this all the time that Hope wins the Revolution. What I mean by this is that having hope, coalition, resilience, etc. will keep us going forward. When we focus on the hate, the fear that is installed in us, we cannot win. It is time to STOP posting infographics of the same ideas into our echo chambers on social medias.
This does nothing to benefit our community. It does nothing to uplift, bring hope, or build coalition. Instead I encourage us all to SHARE our favorite artists across social media, give them their recognition, their dollars honey! Give the royals their flowers! GO to queer space and support our art, culture, music. An infographic does virtually nothing, sharing the faces of movements will be the start to change.
AJ: Drag as activism is so incredibly engaging, it’s accessible and visual and more. Is there a particular event that made you realise drag was for you?
Jayde: I love drag. I always have and always will. I wasn’t always a political queen though, for the first three years I wasn’t political at all. Now it’s where I really want it to be. I’ve had multiple moments that made me realize drag was for me but I think the biggest moment so far was when i lead a pro-choice rally in drag and emphasized the intersectionality that is queerness and body autonomy. It will always have a special place in my heart. I cannot wait to share that with the world again…very very soon….
AJ: A massive massive congratulations for you’re recent commendation from NAU for your work in activism! If this is what you’re achieving at the age of 19, where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Jayde: Oh gosh where will I be in five years. Well, I would like to have been on a season of Rupauls Drag Race and after achieving a bigger platform I would like to be done with my documentary on queer youth and the new face of the community.
I would like to return to my home state and be part of the instrumental change there and i would love to also have my own political commentary show to be honest. That’s where I see myself in the coming years. Continuing to make community. Oh and a world tour wouldn’t be bad either… I don’t know I dream big! I have lots of ideas you tell me what you want to see Jayde Justyce do next.
AJ: Who do you take inspiration from, both in your drag and your activism?
Jayde: I have lots of individuals I take inspiration from they include Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, the honorable Angela Davis, Lady Gaga, Charli XCX, the late pop star SOPHIE, the entire Mexican American community, and author Dean Spade.
AJ: In previous projects, you have tackled issues such gun violence, threats to trans youth and the prejudices towards POC. Do you have any upcoming projects or events that you’re planning over the summer?
Jayde: Yes. I have lots of things planned for pride. I cannot share them all yet because they are still in production but you can follow (@justyceforall_) to find out more! A magician never reveals her secrets.
AJ: Now for a few Q’s with a little bit of unseriousness. I see you love performing to Rina Sawayama (who wouldn’t?), what’s your favourite track from Hold the Girl?
Jayde: I LOVE MISS SAWAYAMA. THATS MOTHER! My absolute favorite track on Hold the Girl is either send my love to john or Frankenstein! Close second is catch me in the air!
AJ: Following on from that, what’s your favourite performance track?
Jayde: My favorite all time song to perform is ‘Replay’ by Lady Gaga. The scars on my mind honey! ON REPLAY!
AJ: If you had unlimited access to any persons wardrobe, whose would it be and why?
Jayde: If I had unlimited access to anyone’s wardrobe it would be my own because I am that girl.
In all honesty, it would probably be Lady Gaga’s. Specifically the Joanne Era. Such a timeless wardrobe of pure life.
AJ: Love!! And, what three products could you not do your face without?
Jayde: 3 products I ABSOLUTELY cannot do my face without is a NYX jumbo white eyeliner. I practically have to get a new one every three shows because I go through so much. I need my powder elf foundation (it makes covering my brows 10/10) and I need enough concealer to cover up all the bags under my eyes because I stay up way too late. I will not apologize for that. I am a night owl.
AJ: If the reader remembers one thing from this interview, what do you want it to be?
Jayde: I want people to remember that this world is good if we chose to be part of the change. We cannot forget that we are in this together. Only when we change our mindset can we truly be free.
AJ: Finally, which 3 words would you use to describe your drag?
Three words to describe Jayde Justyce: Dramatic, Honest, Revolutionary.
Find Jayde on Instagram @justyceforall_
Edited by Emily Duff