The third in a series discussing art and identity within the LGBTQ+ community
Words: Bipolar Abdul
With Pride fast approaching, I decided it was time to speak to some Doncaster LGBTQ+ artists. Doncaster is home to a huge queer community, many of whom are beautifully creative and conceptual. This is the third in a series where I reach out to three fellow artists. We spoke about art and creative outlets but also discussed sexuality and gender identity, and how that can affect lives.
Nathan Watson AKA Eboni Whyte is a founding member of Doncasters only drag family – ZEHAUS – visual artist and all round beautiful entertainer. Oh, and my sister.
Tell me about Eboni, what’s your artistic process?
Eboni is sassy not classy, fierce, tall, and the friendliest intimidating creature you will ever meet. I like to take my inspiration for Eboni from black women that I admire, so there are influences from big stars such as Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj and Scary Spice. Growing up I had major issues with the colour of my skin, always feeling very out of place in a white community and spent many years hating the skin I was born into. Eventually though I learnt to love my melanin magic and wanted to show this in my drag.
My artistic process is fairly simple, I just do what I feel, when I feel like doing it. Eboni is a chameleon and has been known to go from being a beautiful 7-foot glamazon to running around with a beard and hairy chest.
When I’m choosing songs that I want to perform to on stage, I have to be able to envision myself in my mind performing to it. I mainly listen to music in my car, driving to and from work, and this is when I come up with my ideas. I like to tell a story in my numbers and in the past I’ve performed to all different genres of music.
How has drag helped you? Has it affected your day to day life?
Drag has definitely helped me to learn how to love myself. I’m not always a confident person, but the second those talons are on the ends of my fingers and the eye liner is perfectly flicked, there is no holding me back. When I’m not in drag I can get into my own head, worrying about things and what people may think and I have to tell myself to stop whining. If I can step out on a stage and throw myself around to music for 4 minutes with everyone’s eyes on me, then I can do anything!
What’s Eboni’s greatest achievement?
Eboni’s greatest achievement is not breaking her neck running around in heels all the time… just kidding, but it’s probably having people I can class as fans! It’s an amazing feeling to know that somebody loves, appreciates and actually gets you and what you’re trying to do. So far, she hasn’t been in any drag competitions or performed on any big stages just yet, but hopefully they will be ticked off the list sometime soon!
Have you ever been judged for being gay?
I have, when presenting as both male and as female. I was bullied a lot during school for a number of reasons, but my sexuality was one of the main reasons, and I even experienced this as far through my education into my uni years. The only times as an adult I’ve really had any issues has been on nights out, which is why I’ve eventually got to a point where I mainly only go to gay bars/clubs, because I feel safer in that kind of environment and don’t have to worry about my sexuality being a problem to others. I’ve even had some very aggressive men come up and threaten me whilst I was stood outside a gay bar in drag, talking to my friends, all for absolutely no reason at all.
What’s your favourite thing about Doncaster Pride?
My favourite part about Doncaster Pride is the many different types of people that all gather in one space, all for one reason. And as always, Pride is about celebrating being proud of who we are. Remembering that many people gave so much, to ensure that we are able to live in this period of time where it is much easier for us to live how we want to than it was for them, just decades ago.
Join Eboni on the last Friday of every month at FLUID/ITY Doncaster Warehouse with the rest of ZEHAUS.