CLAIRE is shouting up the stairs to her teenager to hurry up with putting on makeup and fixing the hair. They’re late for a meeting.
A typical scenario in many a household, but in Limerick-born Claire Connoly-Doyle’s home, the teenager in question is not her daughter – it’s her 14-year-old son, Kevin Corr, Ireland’s young drag queen.
“He’s allowed to wear make-up when he’s going anywhere with a family member but not otherwise. It could be dangerous,” Claire tells the Limerick Post.
Kevin is, in fact, off to an LGBTQ support group meeting in his mum’s adopted home of Cork.
A couple of weeks ago in Cork’s Crane Lane Theatre, he won the drag title of ‘Miss Mokie Ah’ in his alternate person, Karma O’Hara.
At the tender age of 12, Kevin decided to come out to his mother, identifying as gay.
‘I was scared,” he said. “I didn’t know what they (his family) would think”.
Having come out, he dropped the bombshell that he wanted to be a drag queen.
His mother was sceptical but his older sister Catherine, who has just finished sitting her Leaving Cert thinks he’s fantastic, according to Claire.
“He has been into the Eurovision song contest since he was a small child. I suppose that should have given me a clue,” says Claire.
“When he first told me, he was good friends with a boy who had been openly gay for a couple of years and I thought it was just a phase. Most teenagers want to fit in with what their friends are doing.
“But later, I realised it was my prejudice. I was so ashamed that I had made my much-loved child cry”.
Kevin says he would “love to perform in Limerick. My mum’s from there and I like it. It’s a fun place”.
Kevin regularly practised his drag-queen act in the family living room and come Christmas, Claire asked herself “what does he really want for Christmas? An X-box game or a pair of stilettos?”
He got the stilettoes and since then, frocks, make-up, shoes and bling have become regular presents and rewards for Kevin.
“He calls me his ‘mum-ager’”, says Claire.
Kevin gets his inspiration from famous drag artist and model, Ru Paul and the cult TV series, Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
“I don’t just want to perform,” he said. “I would also like to be an activist for the LGBTQ community. This is something that is very important to me,” said Kevin.
“I would like to be an icon and support to young LGBTQ people,” he told the Limerick Post
Kevin says he has been given “amazing support” from the Cork LGBTQ support group, despite being the youngest participant.
“They are just such lovely people. Any time I have an issue or something is bothering me, they’re there for me”.
He is planning to go to Dublin for the Pride parade and be one of the youngest participants in the Mardi Gras style celebration.
Claire, who is from Landsdowne Park and who still has family living here, says she is not worried about some of the negative feedback she has received on social media about Kevin’s coming out.
“Since there was an article in the local paper about Kevin, people have been posting about children being sexualised. It’s not about sex. It’s about performing.
“He’s strong and he’s exceptionally resilient and he has our full support. It’s a contract you sign when you give birth, to support them all the way,” said Claire.