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Drag queens highlight Tampa Bay area's vibrant community

"The reason that we're so over the top and the reason we're so featured in pride parades is because we're built to stand out.”

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay area has a vibrant community that consists of all walks of life, and that’s displayed on stage when it comes to area drag queens as well.

Michael Dixon has been performing as Daphne Ferraro for more than two decades. He says his love of make-up and dresses started as a kid, playing in his mother and sister’s wardrobes. 

"I feel like Daphne has always kind of been a part of me and kind of an extension of my personality,” Dixon explained.

Daphne exists mainly on stage. Dixon balances his on-stage persona with his other career.

“I'm a senior operations director by day. I've worked a full-time career for 22 years. I've gone to school, you know, so for me it's a very separate thing and I'm also a businesswoman, so like I approached drag as, as a business."

Daphne got her name from Scooby-Doo. Dixon calls it a nod to the “cartoon diva” herself. Over the decades that he’s been performing as Daphne, he says he’s seen the people involved in drag, continue to evolve. 

"Drag is really for everybody and if you watch Ru Paul's Drag Race, she always says, 'you're born naked and the rest is drag.' Meaning, everything that you put on is kind of a costume and you're playing a role and you're deciding how you want to represent yourself to people."

Dixon says today’s drag community is diverse. From women dressing in drag to straight men, trans and gays. 

"There's everything that you can think of right now, and I think it's really exciting." 

He says they often represent the LGBTQ community because they are built for attention, but their reach in the community is widespread. 

“There are drag queens that are reading books to children in libraries now. You know, there are drag queens that are doing phenomenal things and I think the reason that we're so over the top and the reason we're so featured in pride parades is because we're built to stand out,” explained Dixon.

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