Drag queen: ‘My parents said I’d go to hell for being gay. Now they’re my biggest fans’

A drag queen from Texas has opened up about how his parents went from telling him he would go to hell to becoming his biggest fans.

Timothy Byars, who performs as Sabel Scities, recalled how his religious parents were disapproving of his sexuality when he was a teenager.

“I didn’t know what gay was until about the second grade when I realised I was full-on in love with this boy in school and I was crying and I because I didn’t ever find a boy who felt the same way,” he told the LGBT+ platform I’m From Driftwood.

At the age of 17, his parents found out he was gay.

“I was going to hell. Immediately they called my pastor over to talk some sense into me. They said they would never love my choice in a lover,” he said.

“They would never be at my wedding. They would never invite him over for dinner. You can never stay the night. They would never come to my house if he was going to be there.”

When the family moved to Oregon, Byars started meeting other gay people on social media. He also met his drag mother Jersey Scities and began performing at a nightclub as a boy.

“And then we did drag as a gag one night for my grandmother, and my mom and dad were like, ‘Oh, we were just – knew this was a matter of time until this happened. Ugh. We knew. Does this mean you want to be a woman, Timothy?’ Using my whole name and everything,” Byars recalled.

At this point, though, his parents had begun to accept his sexuality. Byars had a boyfriend who would come over for dinner, but when they broke up, he moved to the city of Portland and started doing drag properly – even running for Miss Junior Pride.

When he visited his parents, he explained what his drag life was like for the first time.

“I was like, ‘Actually, I made a lot of friends. I’m really good at this. People like me. People tip me. I feel like a little star. I moved from doing amateur nights to now I’m on cast,’” he said.

Out of the blue, Byars’ parents began turning up to the show. He remembered the day his dad was sat in the audience when he was about to perform an X-rated song.

“So almost as naked as the day I was born doing every word I was sworn not to do as a kid. My dad is front row laughing and cutting up. My mom is having a good time, too. She was already drunk, too. And then they started coming all the days after that,” he said.

Byars’ dad now runs his website and his mum helps make merchandise.

“To go from, ‘I’m going to hell’ and that they’ll never love any of my lovers, to now: they’re the presidents of my fan club and my dad is pushing for me to be on Drag Race,” he said.

“It’s a pretty amazing change,” he said, “I gotta remind myself constantly how lucky I am because there’s so many kids who are still kicked out, who were still exiled, who were still verbally being categorised by their parents.”