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A proud mum has tipped her boy to be crowned the next queen of the global drag scene, as he already spangles in sequins and heels – despite being just nine-years-old.


Since he was aged just two, Vincent Garcia has loved experimenting with his mum Elizabeth Leyva's make-up and tottering around their house in Los Angeles, California, in her stilettos.

And when, aged seven, he watched RuPaul's Drag Race – where queens compete to become America's next drag superstar – he was instantly hooked.

A year later, aged eight, he came out to his parents as gay before revealing his ambition to follow in the footsteps of his favorite flamboyant drag stars.

Ever supportive, Elizabeth, 33, and her partner, soft drinks company worker Nick Garcia, 34 – who also have two other sons, Xzavier, seven, and Abraham, five – have encouraged Vincent to be proud of who he is, whether he is being himself, or his drag queen alter-ego DunkaShay Monroe.

Stay-at-home mum Elizabeth said:

“People say that kids don't know who they are and that parents force certain beliefs on them – but that is a huge misconception."

VincentPA Real Life/Collect

She continued:

"From having three sons, I know 100 pecent that Vincent is sure of who he is."
“We have never pressured him or pushed anything on him. Everything he does, he comes up with himself."
“We'd never want him to hide who he is and are so proud of what an amazingly strong child he is."

Vincent as DunkaShay Monroe (PA Real Life/Collect)

When Vincent expressed an interest in fashion and make-up at the tender age of two, Elizabeth was happy for him to experiment with her clothes and cosmetics.

She added:

“He's always been into fashion. He, to this day, carries around a little notebook with him where he'll draw doodles of things he likes."
“The first proper thing he drew was a pair of heels. Then he started drawing dresses too and asking for Barbie dolls as presents, so he could style their outfits."

Vincent and ElizabethPA Real Life/Collect

She added:

“We wanted him to freely express himself and, as he was so young, didn't want to say anything was strictly for girls or boys."
“Whether he asked for cars and action figures or dolls and make-up, we'd get them for him to help him explore and work out who he was."

As the years passed, Vincent remained passionate about fashion, often customizing his dolls' clothes to make them more individual – a love that was amplified by seeing RuPaul's Drag Race on TV when he was about seven.

Vincent and Nick at Long Beach PridePA Real Life/Collect

Then, aged eight, he told Elizabeth some big news.

She recalled:

“He came in one day and said, 'Mummy, I have something to tell you but I don't know if you'll be upset'."
“I reassured him that he could tell me absolutely anything. I wanted to know he was comfortable talking to me."
“He then told me that he thought he might be gay. We have always been very open with our children and answered questions that they may have about the world, so Vincent knew about the LGBT community and what it means to be a part of it."

Elizabeth added:

“As a mum, you know your children better than anyone, so I wasn't overly surprised that he was questioning if he was gay."
“That said, I wanted to leave it to him to tell me when he was ready, so I had never taken it upon myself to ask him or pressure him to come out."
"I told him I loved him unconditionally and would support him no matter what."

Vincent next to RuPaul's Hollywood starPA Real Life/Collect

Once out, Vincent then told his mum that he wanted to become a drag queen, like the performers he had seen on RuPaul's Drag Race a year earlier.

She added:

“We looked into it first to work out whether it would be appropriate, but we were supportive and thought it was a great way of him expressing himself."
“It's no different to how other children put on a costume and play dress up."

Vincent at Long Beach PridePA Real Life/Collect

With that, Vincent's drag alter-ego DunkaShay Monroe – a name he chose himself combining the lyrics to a song his father would sing him as a tot, and the surname of Marilyn Monroe – was born.

At first, he would experiment with looks around the house, performing runway shows for his family.

Then, earlier this year during June's LGBT Pride month, he had his first outing to a festival in Long Beach, California.

Vincent and Elizabeth at Long Beach PridePA Real Life/Collect

“He wore make-up, but didn't have the full drag wig and dress then."

Shortly after, buoyed by the positive reactions he had received at Long Beach, Vincent decided to hit the city in full drag for Los Angeles Pride.

Donning a green wig he had bought online alongside a sequinned gown found in Goodwill – a thrift store – he took to the streets, much to the delight of the gathered crowds.

Vincent and his brothers walking to LA PridePA Real Life/Collect

Elizabeth added:

“I got a photo of Vincent holding his brothers' hands on the way there, which means the world to me. It shows how they'll all support one another no matter what."
“He really made his mark at LA Pride. People kept stopping him for photos, or to tell him how proud they were."
"He was in his element. It was so special to see."
“Now, while he still sees drag very much as playing, he has mentioned that he wants to make a career out of it."
"But Nick and I have told him he needs to stay in school and study, to have a plan B, C and D in case it doesn't work out."

Although Elizabeth and the rest of the family are incredibly supportive of Vincent, he has experienced cruel comments and been bullied in the past – shockingly, even by adults.

Supportive as ever, his parents have encouraged him to rise above any small-minded taunts he may come up against in later life.

Elizabeth said:

“Sadly, people have a lot to say about the LGBT community, so Vincent has come up against some bullying."

VincentPA Real Life/Collect

“He's had people come up and ask him point blank if he's gay."
"The way I see it, when a man loves a woman or vice versa, they are never made to explain themselves, so I tell Vincent that if he feels comfortable, he can talk about it, but he's certainly not obliged to justify himself."

She continued:

“He is so strong and positive, though. I don't think I'd have been half as brave at his age.
“Whenever people are nasty, he stands up for himself but does it calmly and respectfully."
"He says to me that he thinks anybody who is bullying must not have been taught by their parents that if they can't say anything nice, not to say anything at all."
“He knows there will be times in his life when people don't understand who he is. We don't live in a perfect world where everybody accepts that love is love, and you can't help who you are."

Vincent at Long Beach PridePA Real Life/Collect

Elizabeth concluded:

“All I can ask is that he remembers what we've taught him – to treat those that don't accept him with a smile, then move on and not let their negativity weigh him down. There is a way of standing up for yourself without escalating a situation."

Elizabeth stressed the importance of youngsters learning about different kinds of relationships and about gender identity.

Despite living in the USA, she also welcomes the news that, by September 2020, under new regulations for teaching Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education, all UK secondary schools will be required to teach pupils about sexual orientation and gender identity.

DunkaShay MonroePA Real Life/Collect

In addition, primary schools are encouraged to cover LGBT content – for example, teaching pupils about different family dynamics, such as having same sex parents – if they consider it to be age appropriate.

Elizabeth continued:

“Kids should be taught about the LGBT community so that they know it's okay to be who they are, and that they should respect one another."
“You can't help who you are. We're all human beings and nobody should be discriminated against for who they love."

Vincent and NickPA Real Life/Collect

Now, Vincent continues to perfect his DunkaShay Monroe act – and has even been told by his parents that, if he gets good grades at school, he will be treated to a sewing machine so he can make his own costumes.

Elizabeth continued:

“I leave it up to him to decide how he wants to express himself, especially out in public. Sometimes he won't want to wear makeup, but other times, he'll come out to dinner with us with lipstick and a pair of cat ears on."
“With make-up, we do put some restrictions in place as to how much he wears but that's to do with age, not gender. It'd be the same if I had a daughter – I'd still want her to have that chance to be a child."

VincentPA Real Life/Collect

By speaking out, Elizabeth hopes to encourage other parents to allow their children to express themselves, without forcing gender stereotypes on them.

She concluded:

“My message to other parents is not to be afraid of letting your children show you who they are. People dismiss children a lot and tell them they don't know what they want and are too young to understand – but they have their own minds, just like everyone else."
“If you take the time to sit down and really listen to a child, you'd be surprised at what they know. The worst thing you can do is shut them down and be small-minded. At the end of the day, you should love and support your children 100 per cent, regardless of whether they want to be a doctor, a cop or a drag queen."