The gender-fluid pop sensation talks about performing as a stripper, giving queer people strength and dressing up as Bono
Invariably, queer pop stars worship David Bowie, and Dorian Electra is no different. My dad got me into Bowie from a really young age, they say. I looked up to androgynous rock stars. Whats less common is worshipping Bono. He was one of my heroes as a kid. I know, funny: everyone hates him. But I really loved him, and used to dress up as him. That was one of my first experiences in what I guess you could call drag, but I would call dressing up. I performed the song Vertigo, just for my family I drew on a little beard with my stepmoms eyeliner.
And so, with a home performance of a U2 song, Electra set off on the way to becoming the most lively and witty new pop star of 2019. Assigned female at birth but now defining as gender-fluid, they are about to release their debut album: a brilliant collection of ultra-synthetic, cartoonishly masculine pop, delivered wearing a perfect pencil moustache.
Dorian and Electra are the first two names on their birth certificate, along with two more that they ask me not to divulge (along with their age). Ill tell all about everything else! And boy, do they their diagnosed attention deficit disorder triggers more than 10,000 words down the phone during our conversation, sentences constantly interrupted with a newer, even more interesting thought.
Electra grew up in Houston to an artist mother and a father who performed covers in a rock band after work: Hes not the best singer, but hes got the moves. The couple split when Electra was five; after that, their mother dated women. When I was eight, I was like: So this friend of yours is always staying over, are you a lesbian? She was like: Yeah, honey, I am. And I was like: Thats OK. I knew those other options were open to me.
As a kid, they felt really androgynous: I wasnt into the things girls were into, but I hated sports, or playing with GI Joe. I always identified with the word kid more than girl or boy. In high school, they would have crushes on boys, but I didnt feel like a girl liking a guy. Love stories in movies were very alienating to me.
One of their teachers, an out, Oscar Wilde type figure who also worked as the coach of the debating team, beguiled Dorian and the group of nerdy boys they fell in with. We were Im hesitant to say the word brainwashed, because that takes away my agency, and he did come from a good place. But basically I was brainwashed to think the state was evil, that you cant use government to do anything good, because it is an institution of force.