The Brazilian LGBTQIA + community has been graced with new figures who reach fame by producing educational and specific content. The Internet is a gateway to study, learn and freedom from imposed narratives.. The journey for dreams, for professional fulfillment, horizontal rights, the feeling of belonging; everything that has been denied to the class for centuries is now exposed and debated widely and openly through networks.
In recent years, drag queen Rita Von Hunty, persona of Guilherme Terreri Lima Pereira, has been one of the most prominent voices of this movement. His videos, available on the Tempero Drag channel on YouTube, aim to alert people and educate them about political life.
In an exclusive interview for GAY BLOG BR, the winner of the 2020 Poc Awards for the popular vote in the “Spokesperson” category commented on what led her channel to reach the current status, the projects of the future and social life as Professor Guilherme.
The channel of culinary recipes with “pinches” of politics today talks exclusively about political issues. Was there this intention from the beginning or was the change happening organically? Was there a specific fact or moment for this “turnaround”?
I don’t know if it starts out as “a culinary recipe channel with hints of politics”. The channel begins as a vegan cooking channel, hosted by a drag queen, interviewing other drag queens and influential people in the LGBT community. It was always a political program, right? This has always been the main course. But the transition to another establish, explicitly more content, more focused on the idea of education, happens in an organic way, as there is a worsening of the conjuncture, as I realize that there is a lack, a greater need for these debates. I am proposing to do them. And there was a specific fact and moment for this “turnaround”, which was when I took a bus, a USP circular, and the girls sitting in front of me were saying that they detested politics, that they couldn’t stand people talking about politics anymore, that they were tired. I’ve been thinking about “If they are using a bus, if they are studying at a public university, they should love politics. Everything depends on this”. So, the first question is this, right? It is impossible to be apolitical without being a big privileged by the system or a big alienated, transformed into a mass of maneuver.
Do you see the increase in the presence of drag and trans figures with representativeness in the media as an evolution of society’s thinking for future generations or as a reaction to the setback regarding the achievements of the LGBTQIA+ Community?
I see it as an evolution and a response to the regress. We have to remember that, in the 90s – remembering that no phenomenon in history repeats itself literally (Hegel already says: “All the great event in history it happens twice ”and Marx, afterwards, will say that the first is like tragedy and the second like farce) – drag culture had a great interest in the popular scene, whether via Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, via Para Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything!, whether via Paris is Burning, or Madonna popularization of New York ghetto culture, the Ballrooms scene. So I see what is happening now with these eyes. And I keep thinking that it is a form of resistance, right? To occupy, and to resist and to speak. It happens in the 90s, with the global neoliberal outbreak, and it happens again, now, in the 2020s, and with the global neoliberal outbreak.
How do you analyze the culture of cancellation and how much it may be shifting the focus or even weakening the fighting movements?
About the Canceling Culture, I set out to make this discussion on the channel, in a video called Yellow September, a little based on a reflection by an American philosopher, who is Natalie Wynn (ContraPoints), who is a trans woman and who occupies a place on Youtube. Based a little on her video called Canceling, in which she will try to analyze the canceling as a product and a cultural phenomenon, I work with some of the concepts she brings about decoupage, dissecting and trying to understand the canceling culture. But, in that specific question, what do I think? How do I analyze? In a very succinct way, very short, I think the name does not designate the phenomenon. We are not facing a canceling culture, are we? I want to see someone cancel Coca Cola. Pfizer. Monsanto. There is no possible culture for canceling these things. Coca Cola remains an archibillionaire company, Monsanto as well and Pfizer as well. It is an illusion to think that it is possible to cancel these companies. And I’m talking about companies to give a glimpse of people. “Ah, let’s cancel Woody Allen“. No, they cannot. You can’t cancel it. He’s a genius, a film producer. “We are going to cancel Bolsonaro”. I wish! The name does not designate the phenomenon. The phenomenon is a virtual lynching. That is what I think!”
To what do you attribute the “phenomenon” of people who were once supporters of the ideas to the left-wing being today reproducing the alienated speech of supporters of the current government, while, at the same time, supporters of the 2016 Coup have become staunch critics of the president since the time of the 2018 Election?
This fourth question may require more time to answer. It is also a more in-depth analysis. I think that, very briefly, we can understand that within the system of bourgeois democracy, liberal democracy, we are forced to vote for candidates who reach the runoff. Period. Whether we agree with them or not. We are going through a second round now of Bolsonaro x Haddad. And it seems, if we believe that voting is politics, that there are only these two options. So, people more in favor of the ideas of the left, who today reproduce or became supporters of the government, we, perhaps, can see them as people who were disillusioned, disenchanted. Or that they believed in a promise, expected an improvement, which there was not. And about the coup supporters who became critical, I would have some… “take it with a pinch of salt”. I would have some“suspiciometer” from this staunch criticism. But I also tend to think that people can reevaluate their positioning and postures. So, part of this criticism may come from the fact that people have come across the desert of the real.
The fact that you are talking about Socialism/Communism on a platform that, in a way, requires visibility and monetization, encourages the practice of clickbaits, limits language and even some content to guarantee financial return, does it generate any type of internal conflict in you?
I never limited language or restricted content to guarantee financial return and so on. Even because YouTube is not my source of income. It is not via YouTube that I live. I live of my job as a teacher. So, there is no internal conflict whatsoever, nothing like that. It is a company, a platform that I occupy and produce content.
You recently opened a little more of your personal life on Instagram as Guilherme, telling a little about the “fuss” that you are currently experiencing. What is it like for you to deal with people’s interest not only in your professional content, but also in the intimate details of your life?
I deal with it in a very humorous way. I think people have interests that are nurtured in them, right? We live in an era of personalism and I don’t know… for example, scenic art, since the Industrial Revolution until now, it is mostly bourgeois. A soap opera, a movie, anything like that, a play, whether mainstream or commercial, profitable, is about looking at someone’s life. So we have been trained, for almost two centuries, to wonder how the person’s life will be, with whom they date, who they relate to and so on. And I think it’s a phenomenon, right? Everyone who becomes, in a way, known, who gains notoriety, deals with this personal interest. But I don’t think about it much. A lot because I deal with it in a very funny way, I joke about it. So, anyone who thinks they have an idea of my personal life via the social network, when they really know me, finds that they have no idea at all.
In addition to the channel, you have participated in lives, given on-line lectures (in person, when there was no pandemic) and are writing a book. How is it to flow between the classroom as a teacher and the entire country as a communicative drag/intellectual producer? Do you have plans to further enhance this reach?
So … I don’t know if I distinguish things, you know? Move between the classroom and be drag. Because my drag is now inside the classroom. And my teacher is inside my drag. I just mixed, merged, blended the two functions, so to speak. The two “performances” to provoke. What if I have a plan to enhance the reach? I have no plan. The great truth is that I have found in life that having a plan is as effective as chewing gum, as well. Tomorrow a bus passes by and kills you. And your plans are ruined. So, I don’t make plans. I go on living, the way it goes.
About the book, is it possible to say a little about the writing process, themes and how is the development of the work going?
About the book, it is possible to say that it is in a very early stage (laughs). It wasn’t supposed to be anymore. I still… I had a very busy year last year and this year is also going on. I have already written a part of the book, but whenever I return to it, I want to rewrite it. And the writing process I would designate as laborious, lonely and triggers some kind of anxiety. The written word has a magnitude that, perhaps, the spoken word does not. I feel more comfortable expressing myself verbally than textually. I believe that texts open more spaces for reading than voice messages.
In addition to the life dedicated to informing and educating politically, what are Guilherme’s dreams? Where else would you like to be? What spaces would you like to occupy? Do you consider yourself completely fulfilled – at least at this point in your life?
“In addition to the life dedicated to informing and educating”, my dreams are more collective dreams, you know? Once, I was chatting with a friend of mine, Alê, and he asked me: “What are your dreams? It doesn’t count to say anything to others”. I kind of tilt, you know? My dreams are another type of society, another type of energy extraction, another type of diet. People understood that animals were not to be treated that way, slaughtered that way, consumed that way. I don’t know. But then, dreams, personal dreams … I don’t know. I cannot tell you. In part, I think that dreaming is very dangerous. In the sense that sometimes we get attached to our dreams and become disenchanted with reality. And we can’t do that, you know? When dreams become a kind of escapism, it is very dangerous. But motivating dreams interest me. For example, where I would like to be, what places I would like to occupy, if I am fulfilled … I don’t think about it much. Really, honestly, answering the question. I don’t think about it. I wake up, water my plants, drink my coffee, work, take care of my life, do my things; I don’t think I intend to look to the future as an area that I could colonize, you know? And this is also a bit of a portrait of my process. I prefer to look to the future and think: “Well, come on, doing it. Whatever happened, happened. If it works, it works”;
What was your reaction to winning PocAwards, which is an award for popular acclaim? How do you feel about receiving this loving feedback from the community?
I was very happy, but also surprised, when I won the award. I have the trophy here on my shelf (laughs). He is now here holding books, on a shelf that is not yet complete. So, he holds my books. I was very happy! Very happy It’s good. Receiving this award is like when someone meets me on the street and says: “Hi, I really like your job”. Or when, like yesterday, a guy marked me in a story saying: “When did I imagine my dad was going to sit in the living room with me to watch a drag queen talk about politics”. And it was him filming his father he was very committed and Rita was on TV. So, for me, this trophy is just like these situations, like this. They give me hope.