Absolutely Queer – Creators

Interview with Justin Shoulder, Sexy Galexy and René Rivas

Creativity is expression, and for these Absolutely Queer artists, their creative works have led to a deeper understanding of themselves. Whether they’re plumed in feathers, sparkled in glitter or using found objects to build mythical worlds, their intricate costumes and masks tell stories that explore identity.

Sexy Galexy

A blue puppet with a black moustache, a black hat with gold trim and a matching open breasted jacket stands next to the bottom half of a mannequin wearing sparkly gold pants and holding a painted face mask.
I’m a different drag king to a lot of drag kings because I’m a queen-king. I want to be camp and flamboyant. All I ever wanted to do was work alongside the queens and share our communities.
Sexy Galexy
Three mannequins wearing various drag costumes created by Sexy Galexy. At the bottom there is a screen where Sexy Galexy can be seen performing in one of the costumes.
As myself, I didn't care about wearing makeup. I liked wearing boyish clothes. ... But as Sexy, give me all the makeup, give me all the flamboyant costumes and put me in the spotlight and I'll do things that I'll never do in my normal life. I perform because I love performing and I love wearing the costumes and I love the industry. I love hanging out with drag queens, I love the humour. I just love all those aspects about it and that's why I do it. I don't do it because I need anything from it anymore.
Sexy Galexy
A drag king dressed in a purple sparkly suit jacket and short shorts stands on an escalator with their arms raised up. They are in the midst of a performance.

Having performed all over the world throughout their 30-year career, Sexy Galexy is a glitz, glam, masc, femme, muscle flexing, more-of-a-woman-when-I’m-a-man Man.

A true pioneer, Galexy was the original drag king ‘GlamourBoi’, influencing the modern glamour drag king by moving away from male impersonation.

Renè Rivas

A fabulous display of costumes featuring a variety of sparkles, colours, feathers and textures.
Be open, be honest with yourself and above all be proud of what you do and who you are.
Renè Rivas
A man stands in a crowd watching a performance. He is wearing an embellished unicorn costume with black feathers, a gold horn and jewels.

Renè Rivas arrived in Australia in the 1980s from El Salvador via the Refugee Family Reunion program. Soon after arriving, Sydney legend Peter Tully took Rivas under his wing in the Mardi Gras workshop.

Since then, Rivas has worked as a costume designer in theatre, cabaret and film, creating costumes for major events such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, and international films.

His acclaimed career has seen him work with the likes of Sydney icons Peter Tully, Doris Fish, Ron Muncaster and Jeanne Little, and receive several awards including the SGLMG Lifetime Achievement Award (2016) and the Ron Muncaster Costume Award (2002).

In 1986, Rivas founded the Latin American LGBTQA Community and Friends group aimed at promoting multiculturalism, diversity, human rights, inclusion and social equality, and he continues to be an advocate for transgender youth, survivors of discrimination, abuse and religious persecution.

I saw that as a Latino person [it] was very difficult to be involved in the [LGBTQ] community. I decided to create the Latin American LGBT community in Australia. ... I'm very proud of it … and I'm very grateful for what they have given me.

Justin Shoulder

My obsession with the realm of fantastic creatures and mythology has been ever present, and it manifests today as a practice that moves between performance, filmmaking and events.
Justin Shoulder
Justin Shoulder is Carrion - a creature in a white mask with red eyes and headphone cords as strands of hair. Carrion wears a red and white ruffled outfit. He is in motion.
Carrion is the flesh that birds like vultures eat, so it’s decaying matter that becomes sustenance for other beings. I was interested in a figure that survives on the waste of other[s].

Justin Shoulder is a multidisciplinary artist working in performance, costume, queer parties, sculpture, video and community events. Justin’s alter personas use costumes and prothesis to queer ancestral myths. They use their body and craft to forge connections between queer, migrant, spiritual and intercultural experiences.

Absolutely Queer is an exhibition celebrating contemporary queer creativity for Sydney WorldPride 2023. The exhibition celebrates Sydney’s leading queer creatives who are reshaping attitudes towards their community through their work, creative processes and personal stories. Absolutely Queer features costumes, design, artworks, fashion, activism and multimedia.