Who Are You?
That’s a good question that I am still trying to figure out myself. I just recently came out as non-binary/gender fluid. I’m a cross player from Salem, Massachusetts, USA. Currently going by LH Roberts, which might change to Lee or Lis at some point.
I’m a professional artist, making customized funkos, cybernetics, and wands. Though my real job is working with horses. I have been training, and teaching riding for about 20 years. On the side, I also am a self proclaimed “cat whisperer” and have been fostering cats for over 15 years and enjoy helping people with their feline troubles.
One aspect of cosplay that I am very actively involved in is the Cosplay is not Consent movement. I have been bullied and threatened because of my cosplay when I first started, and it really is not ok that people do this.
I’m an Admin for Boston Whovians, an US admin for ICosplay: anti Bullying Campaign, and the Chancellor for the Order of Gallifrey, an international Doctor Who cosplay group.
Why and when did you decide to become a Drag King or do FTM Cosplay?
The “when” is easy. Very Late 2013. So many of my Harry Potter friends cosplayed. And Harry Potter is my life! So I really thought my cosplay would be an HP one. I tried and tried to make it work. But I HATED cosplaying. OMG. I was so uncomfortable. But my good friend was meeting Tom Felton and I wanted to support him, so I figured I HAD to get a cosplay of sorts together. Thats the WHY part – because I wanted to support my friend.
Do you have a favourite character? (Why is he your favorite?)
I only cosplay as Mr. Clever the Cyberplanner from Doctor Who.
I had started watching the Doctor Who reboot and had already fallen in love with Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, so I thought well, maybe I’ll cosplay 11. Tried that. Hated it. Saw a picture of me as him and deleted it. Wouldn’t even leave the house. So I gave up.
Then I saw Nightmare in Silver and kinda lost my mind. I think I actually screamed. I do remember scaring my cat…I love Neil Gaiman, I love Matt Smith.
I really don’t know WHY he works for me as well as he does. I don’t know why I just fell in love with him. He was so much fun, so snarky, so crazy, so over the top. I knew I could pull off his persona ( to me I’m not cosplaying unless I’m in character) I mean I suppose its also Clever represents duality, competing personalities, a struggle to find acceptance through games and robotic evolution. Mirroring my own latent struggle with gender as well as my love of something perfect – robots. At the end of the day it’s magic for me, ritual and release, an art that lets me be the real me.
Of course MAKING the costume was hell on earth, but that’s a whole other story.
What attracted you to dressing and performing as a male character?
I didn’t care that Mr. Clever was male, or a robot. I just had to be him. I didn’t even think about it.
Why do you think Drag Kings/FTM cosplayers are usually ignored in favour of Drag Queens MTF Cosplayers?
Historically speaking, and correct me if I am wrong, but I believe men have been dressing up as women for far longer than the other way around. Actors dressed in woman’s clothing to portray women since women weren’t allowed to perform.
Drag queens have a long and interesting history.
So I think drag kings have to work a little harder to make themselves known, to get the word out.
It’s just as hard for male cosplayers to be cosfamous too. It is sadly the way it is. It is getting better, for sure. We just have to plug away and let people know that we are here!
What would you like the world to know?
Good question. I have no idea. Spay and neuter your pets. No?
I guess I’d have to say it doesn’t matter your gender, size, age, race, just cosplay whomever or whatever you want. I know that if I had listened to the haters I would never have picked a younger, thinner, male, half robot as my one and only cosplay – and I can’t imagine my life without him.
Dannii Cohen is a stand-up comedian (drag name Divine Varod) and comedy writer turned author, psychologist, professional counselor, life coach and self-help expert. Specialized in LGBT issues, anxiety, empowerment, children’s issues and bullying.
Published works include children’s books about childhood depression and the importance of being yourself (When Clouds Hide The Sun and Christopher the Lonely Bear) and an easy to use self help manual 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life: Self-Improvement Made Easy.