Southern Royalty

Washington Blade Online – Greg Marzullo

Working as a drag queen is a fierce occupation wherever you might live, but being a drag queen in the South requires a thick-skinned bitchiness that is not easily achieved or maintained.

Christian Daniels? film ?Dixie Queen,? a documentary about the delicately balanced lives of drag queens in Wilmington, N.C., was acquired by the National Film Network distribution company and released on DVD in April. The movie premiered in 2004 at the New York Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and subsequently toured the gay film festival circuit.

One of the main subjects in the film is Eddie, whose drag name is Tara Nichole. Eddie grew up on a tobacco farm in rural Beulaville, N.C., and was frequently mocked for his effeminacy and extra pounds. But Eddie?s grandmother came to the rescue by showing her grandson the magic of sewing.

Soon, he began creating costumes for Barbie dolls, and in one touching shot, his aunt shows off his first creation that she?s kept for many years. This simple skill would become an essential asset years later when Eddie made a career out of being Tara Nichole.

The story comes to life as Eddie moves away from Beulaville to Wilmington, and he finds more people like himself. Eddie gets into the drag scene, and suddenly, the reserved and almost morose Eddie becomes a hair flipping, sequin-wielding super queen.