Mother Takes Son, 9, to Los Angeles Gay Pride to 'Debut' as a Drag Queen
Vincent Garcia, from California, taken to gay pride event dressed as woman by mother
A mother is calling on other parents to encourage their children "express themselves" after she took her 9-year-old son to make his "debut" as a drag queen at this year's Los Angeles Gay Pride event.
Elizabeth Leyva claims her son Vincent Garcia, from Los Angeles, California, has been "experimenting" with her clothes, make-up, and stiletto shoes since he was two.
Leyva says the young boy became inspired to make his drag debut at Los Angeles Pride in June after watching reality TV show RuPaul's Drag Race.
The 33-year-old mother now hopes to encourage other parents to allow their children to grow up without "gender stereotypes" being "forced upon them."
She said: "My message to other parents is not to be afraid of letting your children show you who they are.
"People dismiss children a lot and tell them they don't know what they want and are too young to understand – but they have their own minds, just like everyone else.
"The worst thing you can do is shut them down and be small-minded.
"At the end of the day, you should love and support your children 100 percent, regardless of whether they want to be a doctor, a cop or a drag queen."
"From having three sons, I know 100 percent that Vincent is sure of who he is," she said.
"We have never pressured him or pushed anything on him.
"Everything he does, he comes up with himself.
"We'd never want him to hide who he is and are so proud of what an amazingly strong child he is."
Elizabeth, who also shares sons Xzavier, seven, and Abraham, five, with her partner Nick, 34, said she would never want Vincent to "hide who he is."
According to the Daily Mail, when Vincent expressed an interest in fashion and make-up at the age of two, Elizabeth was happy for him to experiment with her clothes and cosmetics.
She said: "He's always been into fashion.
"He, to this day, carries around a little notebook with him where he'll draw doodles of things he likes.
"The first proper thing he drew was a pair of heels.
"Then he started drawing dresses too and asking for Barbie dolls as presents, so he could style their outfits.
"We wanted him to freely express himself and, as he was so young, didn't want to say anything was strictly for girls or boys.
"Whether he asked for cars and action figures or dolls and make-up, we'd get them for him to help him explore and work out who he was."
As the years passed, Vincent remained passionate about fashion, often customizing his dolls' clothes – a love that was amplified by seeing RuPaul's drag race on television when he was seven.
Then, a year later, he told Elizabeth some "big news."
She recalled: "He came in one day and said, 'Mummy, I have something to tell you but I don't know if you'll be upset.'
"I reassured him that he could tell me absolutely anything.
"He then told me that he thought he might be gay.
"We have always been very open with our children and answered questions that they may have about the world, so Vincent knew about the LGBT community and what it means to be a part of it."
Once "out," Vincent then told his mother that he wanted to become a drag queen, like the performers he had seen on RuPaul's Drag Race.
She said: "We looked into it first to work out whether it would be appropriate, but we were supportive and thought it was a great way of him expressing himself.
"It's no different to how other children put on a costume and play dress up."
With that, Vincent's drag alter-ego DunkaShay Monroe – a name which combined the lyrics of a song his father would sing him and the surname of Marilyn Monroe – was born.
At first, he would experiment with looks around the house, performing runway shows for his encouraging family.
Then, earlier this year during June's LGBT Pride month, he had his first outing to a festival in Long Beach, California.
"He wore make-up, but didn't have the full drag wig and dress then," explained Elizabeth.
The first person in America to be legally recognized as #transgender now says he regrets transitioning from his born gender and is campaigning against #SexChange surgeries, laws, and drugs.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) March 13, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/FYMcsPk4wG#NonBinary
Shortly after, encouraged by the positive reactions he had received at Long Beach, Vincent decided to hit the city in full drag for Los Angeles Pride.
Donning a blue wig he had bought online alongside a sequinned gown he found in Goodwill, he took to the streets, much to the delight of the gathered crowds.
Now, Vincent continues to perfect his DunkaShay Monroe act – and has even been told by his parents that, if he gets good grades at school, he will be treated to a sewing machine so he can make his own costumes.
Elizabeth said: "I leave it up to him to decide how he wants to express himself, especially out in public.
"Sometimes he won't want to wear makeup, but other times, he'll come out to dinner with us with lipstick and a pair of cat ears on."