Paris drag queen targeted over Olympic torch relay role, Latest Others News - The New Paper

Paris drag queen targeted over Olympic torch relay role

PARIS – A French drag queen chosen to take part in the torch relay for the Paris Olympics has been abused online and criticised by conservatives after being unveiled in a video this week.

Minima Geste, 33, has become the latest culture war flashpoint over the Games following rows over the music for the opening ceremony and the official Olympics poster.

“I reaffirm my full support for her,” Paris’ Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a statement on May 3. “I’ll say it again – I am proud and, yes, Paris is proud that a drag queen will carry the torch and the values of peace and humanity.”

Geste, who appeared in a video message on social media on May 1, was chosen by the city as one of its torch carriers when the relay reaches the capital on July 14 and 15.

“Having a drag queen carry the torch is an enormous source of pride,” said the performer, who wears 25cm heels when in full costume.

“One of the messages that I want to carry is the pride in my community because 10 years ago having a drag queen carry the torch would have been unimaginable,” added the campaigner for the LGBTQIA+ community.

She admitted that performing as a drag queen in corsets and high heels was physically demanding, but added that she had previously done wrestling and synchronised swimming.

Paris said on its X account that Geste had been the victim of “homophobic and transphobic insults” in the video and that it would help her launch legal action.

Far-right politician Marion Marechal, meanwhile, said that Geste was responsible for “particularly vulgar” and “hyper-sexualised performances”.

“I don’t think that this is a good way of representing France to the world,” she told the TF1 channel on May 2.

Marechal along with other conservatives, including her aunt and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, were also outraged by rumours that Franco-Malian R&B superstar Aya Nakamura is set to perform during the opening ceremony on July 26.

Le Pen criticised Nakamura’s clothing, accused her of not singing in French, and said an appearance by the artist would “humiliate” people.

The criticism, seen as racially motivated by critics such as Culture Minister Rachida Dati, underlined the difficulty of creating national unity around the Olympics in such a starkly divided country.

When the official poster was unveiled in March – an elaborate hand-drawn depiction of Paris – a missing Christian cross on the top of the Invalides landmark sparked debate about the country’s heritage and identity. – AFP