This is why drag star Courtney Act thinks labels are ‘a good thing’

Courtney Act

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Courtney Act has said she’s all for putting labels on sexuality if they “help to bring visibility to the LGBT+ community”.

The Australian drag queen, real name Shane Gilberto Jenek, opened up on The Independent‘s dating and relationships podcast Millennial Love.

Courtney identifies as pansexual and rejects the “rigid identification of sexuality of being gay or straight”, explaining: “I’m just always attracted to fun experiences and nice people and good connections.”

“I like labels because they help to bring visibility, and for me, hearing other people talking about labels has been what has helped me understand who I am relative to those labels,” she said.

She credited the trans rights movement for bringing greater understanding on the subject of sex and gender, and forcing people to reconsider heteronormative ideals.

“I think the whole trans revolution that has been occurring over the past few years has been really important in blowing apart people’s concepts of gender and identity and sexuality and how they all intersect.

“The conversation about gender always starts from a polarised place and we’re now getting further down the rabbit hole if you will… the truth is that people and their sexuality is a lot more fluid than they realise.”

Courtney Act came second on Dancing with the Stars Australia this year and touched on how people treat her differently when they see her out of drag.

“I feel like I’m always me, but sometimes I look different to other people,” she said. “Internally I’m consistent but sometimes, depending on how I look, people treat me differently and therefore I react to that.

“So like, straight men are probably the ground zero, where as Courtney they’ll flirt quite often, and I’ll flirt back, but as Shane they definitely don’t flirt and are sometimes offended by an effeminate boy.”

She expanded on her sexual appeal for ‘straight-identifying’ men, noting as she has previously that men are often “both confused and intrigued” by her appearance.

“Even when they’re aware that I have a penis, they’re still kind of intrigued, and I think that more behind closed doors men are a lot more willing to explore, because they’re really afraid of what other people might say or think. But in the moment they’re always a little bit more exploratory.

“I think younger people are a lot more open to that, which is really cool.”

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