Slaying Gender Episode 2 – Luna Karr

Men, women, adults, children, cisgender people, transgender people, queer, straight… Whoever we are and however we identify, we all have a gender expression. But right-wing extremists continue to launch attack after attack on our LGBTQIA+ community — specifically transgender people and drag performers — simply because they are expressing and presenting themselves differently than the GOP’s narrow, hateful lens would like.

With our Slaying Gender series, we’re featuring voices from Texas’ diverse transgender and drag communities. Watch episode 2 with Brownsville-based drag performer Luna Karr below!

Watch Episodes

Brigitte Bandit | Luna Karr | Travis Randy Travis | Ryan

Interview Transcript

By now we all know what gender really is. It’s just a social construct. And I think people like me, and people who are living their life as other than the binary, really challenge the minds of a lot of people out there. And it really makes them question their own reality and their own identity. And I think that’s where a lot of the issues come out. And a lot of the transphobia really is projecting.

It’s just themselves projecting onto us that, “How can you really be so in touch with yourself?” And I cannot.

Hi. Well, my name is Luna Cisneros, also known as Luna Karr, my performer name. My pronouns are she/her/ella. I am based out of Brownsville, Texas. That is the Lower Valley, the tip of Texas down in South Padre.

How long have you been performing in queer spaces?

I’ve been performing in queer spaces for about five years. So, yes, I’ve been in queer spaces for five years. I’ve done a lot of things, from drag activism to coming on doc series, right? Like with Vice, I’ve done a lot of Telemundo, Univision, local channels, really speaking on performance and queer performance, and what that means, and expression of the arts of drag.

What parts of your identity shape your view of the world?

I am dealing with a lot of Catholicism down here, a lot of machismo, a lot of division between communities, right? From my Latino community to my queer community. There’s a lot of things that intersects when it comes to positive/negative. And one of them is when you live as a trans woman, sometimes you need to pass, right? And those are very big worries of me. That gives me a lot of anxiety when going out in the public or into, like, cis places, right? So that’s one thing. And then, obviously, the other thing in my own community, is sometimes we face a lot of discrimination and our voice gets a little shut down on certain topics.

So as a trans woman, it has shaped me into becoming more strong and really, really sitting down in the table and having these conversations and calling out machismo, calling out people who don’t view us as women, right? Who don’t think we have a part in the conversation. And I mean in all aspects in all conversations.

So, yeah, it definitely has shaped me into somebody who is now more brave, who is more outspoken, and who will make sure that my voice is heard and the voices of my sisters, and brothers, and siblings are heard anywhere they need to be heard and they’re not respected.

What does drag mean to you, and what does this community to you?

Drag literally means so much to me. It was something that opened my eyes to my own identity and accepting my own femininity. It really allowed me to just fully experience myself and touch bases to the reality of who I am as a person and how I felt, and I’ve always felt oppressed because of everyone always telling me, “No, you were born a male. You have to act like a male.” There’s no such thing. Drag really allowed me and gave me that liberty to just say — 

Can we curse?

Yeah, of course. 

Okay. Drag gave me the liberty to say fuck you to misogynist comments. Fuck you to having this gender role. Fuck you to not living your authentic self. So drag really empowered me, and gave me my voice, and gave me those eyes to really see myself, and believe in myself, and to just trust my own instinct as a human living in this material world.

How do you feel that these drag bans and attacks on trans youth — how would they impact you, your spaces, and your communities?

Personally, I can say it drives me into really, really pushing against it. It gives me the fire to continue fighting and living my authentic self every single day.

Where I come from is from a place of bravery, and I come from a space where I was always taught to shut up and not question what those people in power really did to our communities.

No importanta si me llevas hasta la muerte donde me lleve. I will live my life authentically till the last breath I take on this earth. So that’s what it does to me. 

But what it really does to my community: it kind of censors us, it’s trying to erase our existence, it’s trying to erase our voices and that we were ever on this planet. But the reality of it is we’ve been here since day one. There’s a lot of cultures who see us as a third gender. There’s a lot of cultures that there’s people like me and they’ve been there for centuries. But I think ever since we all were colonized worldwide by those people, they were trying to erase us, and they continue to try to erase us.

But look, Lo bueno munca muere, es lo que digo yo. We’re going to be here regardless. We’re going to reincarnate and continue to live our lives on this earth. And so we come here, and we distribute this message of love, because that’s really what life should be, right? It should be about loving each other and respecting.

That kind of wraps up, like, the more serious questions. I have some fun kind of just rapid-fire questions. These are like, a little bit sillier and just, you know, top of your head, whatever you’re thinking. Cats or dogs?

Oh, fuck. Cats. 

Gay son or thot daughter?

Thot daughter. Duh. Duh! I want that bitch to be thotting the house down boots. Like! And even a gay son, come give them to me. Give me twins, bitch!. Yes. Give me a gay-ass son and a thot-ass bitch!

Human hair or synthetic wigs? 

Human! Human all the way. 

Okay, what about this one: heels or platforms? 

Oh, heels. Your legs just look so beautiful. You look so elegant and so poised, and it just lifts you up and it makes you feel the fantasy.

Can you share a performance ritual with us, like something that you do before you perform?

A ritual that I really have is adding a bunch of glitter on any skin that is showing.

So I think it alleviates… it’s kind of like me telling you, “You’re going to be okay.” Like, you know, when somebody does this to you with my — I’m adding the glitter and it’s this beautiful glitter, this Fenty glitter bomb. Te ama. And it shines like a mother, so you just look like glass on stage. So I do that every single time I’m about to go on stage, put it all over my hands, and it calms my anxiety, and it makes me just look so glowy and beautiful.

Would you rather never say slay again or slay so hard every day that the word loses all its meaning? 

Oh, fuck, that’s a hard one… Oh, I suck at these. That’s a really hard one. Okay. I would rather take away the word because I would rather feel it and feel the fantasy, right, than to lose its meaning.

Slay That Outfit with Luna Karr! [outfit onscreen]

Oh my god! I posted this as soon as I started feeling comfortable in my own skin because I was very the girl to not show skin.

Yeah, I wanted something that it was comfortable enough to show things, but also hide certain things. And the fact that I don’t have a BBL just yet, but I have a nice body, and nice legs, and beautiful tattoos, so I wanted something just comfortable. Paris Hilton 21st Birthday-inspired. So yeah, that’s where this comes from.

Second look: This little retro number. [outfit onscreen]

Ooh, I love that. Fun fact: This was a dress. Just a dress. I was definitely inspired by Austin Powers on this. I wanted to just take it back to the go-gos. So I repurposed the dress because I love to reuse, reduce, recycle. And I made this little cocktail dress with those little hand sleeves. And also, the hand sleeves are super inspired by Maddy from Euphoria. You know that black outfit? There’s just like a little thumb, all the other fingers exposed. So that’s where that came from.

What do you hope for in the future of Texas drag?

I really hope for people to just — for them to just not fuck with us. Honestly. I have the hope that we will come from this. I mean, we’ve came from it several fucking times.

I think this is another big rock on the road. And I think as communities, as people who have been through this several times, I really hope that we can all come together as a community and with one purpose. And that purpose is to let those folks up there know that. Not to fuck with us.

Luna, thank you so much for making time for this interview. Thank you so much for everything you do for your community. As a performer and as an activist, it’s really a super unique lane that you kind of occupy and one that’s really needed. So we’re super proud to see, like, everything that you do and everything that you will do moving forward. So thank you so much.

I love that. Love that. Love the work that you all do and continue to do all over social media. It’s super impactful and an impact in my life, and I know it’s impacting other folks who are coming after us. So thank you all as well.

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