Alex Mathew is well known as Maya the Drag queen. Well, who is Maya? She is a drag performer and loves to sing, act, and dance.
Maya is a character created by Alex in the year 2014. Maya or Mayamma in Malayalam means the Mother of illusion/mother of magic. The story begins like Maya is from a village from Kerala who moves to Bangalore city in finding the love of her life. She uses storytelling to communicate and educate people about the LGBTQIA Community and Drag as an art form.
Alex started his theatre career in the year 2011 at Hyderabad. A 30-year-old stand for himself and never gives up here is what you all need to know about Alex and Maya’s journey.
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What is to be a Drag Queen in todays world?, Here is what Alex, popularly known as Maya the Drag Queen has to say.
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Posted by Platocast on Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Alex talks about his experience as a drag queen and a part of the LGBTQIA Community read below.
How did you come up with the character Maya? How can you be two different people?
Maya and Alex are the same people but, Maya becomes 1000 times bigger version of Alex on the stage. Maya – is a Drag Queen, a person who dresses up as a woman on the stage only for entertainment purposes. When I started theatre, I just wanted to be an actor. But people started telling me that you have got a thick mallu accent and a feministic style.
That’s when I came across this movie called “Mrs. Doubtfire” and the Indian version Chachi 420. At that moment I gave a thought that if Robin Williams and Kamal Hassan can do drag then I can drag too. Then I created the character, Maya or Mayamma and with that, I started performing in September 2014 and since then I have not looked back.
When you realized that you were going to do this were you skeptical and How did you overcome that?
I was honestly scared. But then I had to do what I had to. So, I decided to follow my passion and it keeps me happy. For me, the adrenaline rush was when I performed. I wanted to show and prove to people that stick to who you want to be and can achieve what you aim at.
What do you feel about the unique approach of Maya in society?
For 25 years of my life, I have been living what people had asked me to be. But when I hit the age of 25 I realized and then made a decision. It was a risk that I was taking but, I stood on my ground by saying this is who I am and this is what I am going to be. A lot of relatives of mine don’t speak to me or some tell my mother that I need some help or counseling.
Tell me something about your childhood, how was it like?
As a child, I was one of the carefree children. That has been part of my adulthood as well. I always used to question when anyone made fun of me or tease me.
I was very sensitive and I still am. So for me as a child, I was an entertaining kid. That is something it has been since then. I also became a person that society wanted me to be. That made me lose a lot of myself but I regained it after which I came out of the closet myself.
What are the rights that you think the community deserves that seems to be lacking and worked on immediately?
The crunch of the whole thing is we need education. There are so many but for me, I would like to talk about the trans community, we need gender-affirming surgeries and to have insurance for them, it ultimately is for the whole community as well. Not every trans woman or man could afford to gender-affirming surgery. So, even the same case goes to adoption rights, why are we not given the chance to adopt the child? and we need opportunities in the corporate world.
The personal struggle that would you want to highlight?
I was rejected by a couple of job entries after they got to know that I am a drag queen and a queer man. I had a job interview and traveled to Mumbai on the bus. But the recruiters already knew that I was a queer man and she said I won’t be a good fit for the job. They made assumptions about who I am and not my skills. They rejected based on sexuality.
Love life: I have dated three men and the first relationship went on for one year and nine months others were just for months. The first one was interested in Alex but not Maya and the last two were okay with Maya but not with Alex. I decided that if I ever need to find a guy he should love me and Maya equally. I’m still single for now.
How was your family’s reaction when you revealed the news to them?
My parents are conservative Christians. My mom concluded that I don’t care about sexuality but, Drag is not a good idea but my dad said sexuality is a sin but drag is fine until you get paid for it. I had two opposite viewpoints. For almost one and a half years I kept fighting. But later they understood me. It was not like it all happened suddenly but they took time and I didn’t give up.
How did you explain your family and the people the ‘term drag queen’?
I made them understand it’s an art form and it’s nothing to do with my gender and sexuality. I gave them the reference to Chachi420. I first kept the name as Mayamma and people assumed that I am a trans woman and later I changed it to Maya which didn’t make much of a difference.
How is it been a journey for you before and after Section 377?
I was really scared, I used to think something is going to happen and somebody would come and put me in jail for performing as Maya. It was happening to a lot of people in the community as well which feared me a lot. Even during that time, my parents didn’t understand me. For me, it was the hardest fight. My parents ultimately understood me. I would say it was a slow pace and things fell into place.
The whole thing is based on the education system. Post section 377 we were supposed to educate people about the community. That is something that is missing. The people would have understood how emotionally and mentally the community is suffering. We will get there at some point is what I believe.
Did any sort of weird incidents occur in your life?
The incidents that I have come across is through the Internet/social media. I have received a lot of horrible and unusual comments. In such a case, I will ignore, mute, or block that is the mantra.
COVID has changed the lives of many, how is it been with you?
The moment pandemic hit, I started to panic. I got so much opportunity and, now it’s all gone in the rain and, that made me worried. But that just went on for one or two weeks and, then I just started doing things like reading stories to children, started taking part in panel discussions, webinars, and teach school children about the LGBTQ community. I even got a chance to be a part of BH1, pride month, Humans of Bombay, and many other magazines. I am also working on perfecting my skills in creating videos and makeup skills.
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