“When I look at my friends in the industry — gay, straight or biological women — we’re still marginalized,” says the former RuPaul’s Drag Race audience favourite
Performing at the Cannabis Cup in 2015 in Oxnard, California, drag queen Laganja Estranja hoped it would be a significant moment: Would drag be embraced by a mainstream cannabis audience? After all, the LGBTQ community had backed Proposition 215 in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in 1996, which led to the legalization of medicinal marijuana and paved the way for California’s recreational market, too.
But the performance didn’t go as planned. Opening up for rapper Bow Wow, the cannabis audience couldn’t handle her show.
“I was wearing a two-piece bra and panties, very naked, my typical style, and was booed offstage — the overall response being, ‘Ewww, this is so gay,’” says 31-year-old Estranja, who was born Jay Jackson in Dallas, Texas. “I felt weird, like I was pushing something onto these people and I didn’t want to perform in the space anymore. But, after some distance, I figured: Fuck that, I’ll never stop speaking out.”
Speaking out has been a finely tuned skill since Estranja rose to international prominence as the most popular contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2013. After becoming an audience favourite and starring in several iterations of the show, she had a powerful platform. It didn’t take her long to use that platform to become a cannabis activist.
Published: March 09, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News