Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden is an eight-year-old boy from Montreal, Canada, who has been dressing in drag for the past year.

On May 27, the Advocate magazine reports, he was thrust into the international spotlight after he went on stage with drag personality Bianca del Rio during the “Werq the World” drag tour.

Golden introduced himself by his drag name, “Lactatia,” which he later admitted was a funny name he had been given by his sister.

When asked if this was his first time in drag, he responded, “Not really.”

Del Rio was stunned by the wit of the young boy standing before him. Before he ended the segment, he told Golden:

“I love the fact that you’re here. And what I love most about this is that your mom is here supporting you […] That’s amazing. I’ll tell you this, the brilliant thing about all of this is that there will many opportunities in the world open to you. Share it. Be you. Enjoy the H*** out of it. You’re in a good place with your family bringing you here.”

THE SWEETEST LITTLE ANGEL❤️ #adorable #rpdrseason20 ❤️

Posted by The Bianca Del Rio on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

But not everyone agreed with del Rio. After the performance, Golden’s performance was widely shared on social media where it was met with some criticism.

https://twitter.com/apurposefulwife/status/869742756691890180

His parents, Jessica Mélançon and Coriander Golden, explained in a statement written for Best Kept Montreal that their family life is far from normal, but that they care about supporting their son:

“Obviously, we’re not like most moms and dads. Instead of Saturday morning soccer practice, we have Vogue classes. When we go clothes shopping it’s equal parts black skinny jeans and skulls as it is sequins and tulle. We talk ollies, grinding and dropping in — he’s pretty dedicated to his skateboard, just as much as contouring and tuck tape!

And as far as sexuality and drag go, Nemis understands that a majority of Queens are gay. It’s something we’ve talked a lot about at length because he expressed his concern that people wouldn’t think he was a “real” drag queen or take him seriously because he doesn’t feel like he’s gay.

Maybe he will in the future? Who knows. Luckily for him, he has his whole life to figure out that aspect of himself, but for the time being, he’s content to find heels in his size and own his sh*t!

He is unapologetic and an amazing individual.

We are huge allies in this scene. At the end of the day, I’m hoping that Nemis inspires more parents to be unconditionally accepting of their children and inspires more kids to embrace themselves completely!”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BUvHm0aBNYF/

The criticism on social media didn’t slow the family down.

A few days later, Golden performed in the Vogue Ball TODAY and won in his category. He was later interviewed by LGTB in the City.

Golden told LGBT in the City that he was proud of who he was and to have the support of his parents:

“Anyone can do what they want in life. It doesn’t matter what anyone else things. If you want to be a drag queen and your parents won’t let you, you need new parents.”

While many commenters were proud of Golden for his first drag performance, others were quick to criticize him and his parents for sexualizing a young boy.

Several commenters, including the Illinois Family Institute, posted criticism of the parents on Facebook for allowing Golden to participate in the event:

“An 8-year-old Canadian boy, with the support and facilitation of his ignorant parents, is being celebrated for his drag queen persona ‘Lactatia’ and his sexually suggestive ‘voguing’ performance at an adult drag event that will tickle the fancy of pedophiles everywhere […] This is unambiguous and shameful child abuse. Through the depraved ‘trans’ cult movement, evil is being promoted as good, and again women and children are the victims.”

Across social media, different media personalities and organizations were quick to pick sides, choosing to support or criticize Golden.

You go, Lactatia.

Posted by George Takei on Friday, June 9, 2017

Here is a clear case of perversion and parental abuse. But according to new Ontario law it is child abuse if one…

Posted by Robert A. J. Gagnon on Friday, June 9, 2017

In an interview with Independent Journal Review, his mom Jessica Mélançon said it has been a very busy couple of weeks. She explained that drag is an artistic expression for her son:

“Our son has always been a performer, always into costumes and because we’re not uptight, when he started wearing his older sister’s hand me down costumes, we didn’t bat an eyelash. Drag, for him, given the fact that he’s only eight and doesn’t fully understand or apply the adult humor to his own performance, is pretty much glorified lip-syncing, coupled with awesome stage make up and costumes. Drag is about assuming a character and developing that character. Drag is about cool wigs, amazing shoes, and choreography. He thinks of himself as an artist and we give him that creative freedom of expression to explore that.”

While she understands that some people will disagree with her family’s choice to allow Golden to dress in drag, she stands behind her family’s decision:

“What I’ve learned from life in general is that people hate, vehemently, that which they don’t understand. And more importantly, we’re conditioned to care what people think about us as people, from such a young age. It’s a hard behavior to unlearn. So when people like me, honestly and truly don’t care, I think that strikes a chord.”

Mélançon explained that by allowing him to take classes and make his own costumes, she’s giving Golden the freedom to be himself:

“For the people who can’t understand or won’t understand, I don’t have time to explain or defend or even engage in any sort of debate about it. It’s 2017, I don’t care what those people think. I don’t have time to care what people think. The only thing that does matter is that we’re totally winning the parenting game (and yes, oh yes, we are) by allowing our son to show the world what it truly means to be an artist and have the ultimate freedom to express himself and pursue what he loves!”

Although she knows that her choice will certainly ruffle some feathers, she hopes her son’s story can help spread a message of love and acceptance.

Some drag events in the U.S. and Canada have age restrictions on tickets and entry. The tickets to both the “Werq the World” event and Vogue Ball TODAY in Montreal were open to all ages.

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