This Canadian ban on using the phrase ‘drag queen’ is over

The phrase ‘drag queen’ has been officially permitted by authorities in Québec.

The predominantly French-speaking Canadian province, which is home to more than eight million people, had previously excluded the phrase from its list of authorised foreign words.

But notoriously strict local officials have decided that drag queen is now an acceptable French term, along with other English words like grilled cheese, cocktail and softball.

A drag queen high five's spectators during the Pride Parade in Toronto, Ontario, June 25, 2017. The event draws hundreds of thousands of spectators every year. / AFP PHOTO / GEOFF ROBINS (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)


The Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), which defends the use of French and protects it from pervasive English words, made the changes earlier this year without much fanfare.

Its official online dictionary now includes the phrase, defined as “a male person constructing a female identity, usually dressing in a colorful and extravagant manner, often as part of a show.”

It is, the 56-year-old organisation says, now “within the sociolinguistic norm of French in Quebec.”

OQFL spokesman Jean-Pierre Le Blanc told BBC News that the policy was loosened “to keep in the mind the social and linguistic reality of Quebecers”.

“We’re legitimising what is already commonly being used,” he added.

A drag queen with an elaborate model of Toronto as a hat gets high 5's as the WorldPride Parade makes its way down Yonge Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 29, 2014.  WorldPride is an event that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT pride) issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities.  2014 host Toronto is the first WorldPride celebration ever held in North America, and the 4th such festival in the world.  AFP PHOTO / Geoff ROBINS        (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)


Le Blanc said the agency would continue to create and promote French equivalents to new English words like hashtag – a word which has prompted the rival suggestion of ‘mot-clic.’

But he said the OQFL was “not closed to other languages.

“That’s what we want to show with this new policy.”

The news will be welcomed by eight-year-old drag queen Lactatia, who leapt into the public’s hearts when he stole a Montreal show from RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Bianca Del Rio.

He was pulled onstage during the Quebec leg of the Werq the World Tour, and the precocious star, whose real name is Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden, won over the audience with his sass.

eight-year-old drag queen lactacia


Bianca told him: “I absolutely adore you.

“I love the fact that you’re here, and what I love most about this is that your mum is here supporting you.”

And Lactatia carried on taking the world by storm in an interview with YouTube channel LGBT in the city.

Speaking with poise and certainty, he told the audience: “I think that anyone can do what they want in life.

“It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks,” he continued.

“If you wanna be a drag queen and your parents don’t let you, you need new parents.

“If you wanna be a drag queen and your friends don’t you, you need new friends.”

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 3:  Three drag queens rest along Church Street, during the annual Gay Pride Festival on July 3, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Justin Trudeau made history as the first Canadian prime minister to march in the Pride parade.  (Photo by Ian Willms/Getty Images)


Last month, Toronto-based kindergarten teacher John Paul Kane hit the headlines for combining his drag performances with his work in education.

Kane explained that he draws inspiration for his drag persona, Fay, from the children he teaches.

“Ultimately my kids have influenced my style.

“The music I choose and the colours of my costume. The kids have inspired her more than anything else.”