Non-binary drag artist Virgin X has released a new single, “Splinters,” in which they discuss their fraught relationship with Catholicism. [Editor’s note: Virgin X uses the pronouns “they/them.”]
For Virgin X, releasing this new music is a way to talk about their identity and upbringing as a queer person raised Catholic, according to British gay magazine Attitude.
The singer said they were brought up Catholic in a small town in Oregon, an environment in which it was not easy to be a young queer person. They articulated some of the challenges of growing up in a community that was often queerphobic:
‘I would share a pew with a guy I would go to high school with and shake hands saying ‘Peace be with you’ on a Sunday. By Monday he was bashing my head into a locker for being queer. The culprit of this behavior, to me, lies within the institutionalized ways of thinking that cultivate prejudice and a lack of tolerance.”
Virgin X said that their experience of Catholicism has been that the church upholds violence against LGBTQ people. Even so, religion has been a throughline in their career as an artist: they chose their drag name in conversation with the Marian theology they grew up with, and their new album comments specifically on the church and the LGBTQ community.
“Through working within the queer arts, I have learned so much about myself and my own identity,” they said.
Music and performance, for Virgin X, is a means to challenge ways of thinking that exclude LGBTQ people. Virgin X’s new music release reminds Catholics that there is much to be done to make the church inclusive of all.
—Grace Doerfler (she/her), New Ways Ministry, May 28, 2022