A review of our 10-page article about QOEE in the London-based JEZGA Magazine.
Queens of Eastern Europe
“In the series ‘Queens of Eastern Europe’, photographer Sebastian Franke travels to Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary and Serbia to explore their respective drag cultures, and the social and political realities that inform them. When thinking of a drag queen, most people tend to have a certain image in our minds, affected by cultural phenomena such as ‘Ru-Paul’s Drag Race’. So it felt refreshing to meet drag queens like Lula, who is 80 years old, and tells tales of entertaining the cultural elite behind closed doors during the communist era, when such activities could be heavily punished.
While researching for this issue, we found studies indicating that 72% of Poles are against same sex marriage, and more than 80% of people questioned in Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania are against same-sex adoption. Compared to the United Kingdom, where 73% say that they agree with same-sex adoption, it is safe to say that in most Eastern European countries there is still a heavy stigma applied to non-normative relationships. These traditional conservative values extend throughout the majority of society and apply to any who challenge ‘typical’ gender rules — which of course the drag queens of Eastern Europe do.”