The Dogwood Monarchist Society of Vancouver Makes Gender History with First Regent Emprex

Misty Meadows | Photo Courtesy of Chris Reed/ Continental Breakfast

By Kendell Yan

If you haven’t heard of the Dogwood Monarchist Society, you’re in for a treat of learnings. It’s a celebration of community, an outpouring of charity, and has the dress, drapery, glamour, and formal protocol of a monarchy.

Across Central and North America drag culture has maintained a long-standing history of being based around charitable community initiatives and Vancouver’s Dogwood Monarchist Society (DMS) is a part of that history. In 1965 by José Sarria in San Francisco formalized a system modeled after the formation of an Imperial court, with annually elected communty officials bearing the prestigious title of Empress and/or Emperor.

Vancouver’s Dogwood Monarchist Society (DMS) 47th annual Coronation Ball made a triumphant return to one of its original venues, the Commodore Ballroom to crown the new Empress Misty Meadows with visitors from courts across North America, as well as a performances by Tatiana from the hit reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Last year Empress XLVI Jane Smoker and Emperor XLVI Tommy Della Notte made waves as they modernized the Monarchy in Vancouver, including the introduction of the gender-neutral pronouns “Imperial Crown Princet” and “Emprex”.

This year our Empress is none other than her most imperial sovereign majesty Misty Meadows of the house of the Milky Way. Known for her incredible lip sync, killer fashion sense, and hilarious camp, Misty is Vancouver’s Entertainer of the Year 2017 and host of the show Moist Mondays every Monday at XY Nightclub.

Continental Breakfast | Photo Courtesy of Chris Reed/ Continental Breakfast

Only a couple weeks into her reign and already she is making history. Her appointed counterpart is the non-binary performer, photographer, designer, and fashion icon Continental Breakfast, making them the very first Regent Emprex of the DMS. There is a great deal of prestige and honour that comes with the title, but not without great responsibility and social accountability. The Empress and/or Emperor and/or Emprex appoints figureheads in the community to serve in their upper house as Prince(sses/ts), and together they rally their communities to raise money for select charities throughout the year.

“Being the first to be bestowed this title is such an honour, as well as such an opportunity for me and so many,” Continental says, “the non-binary community is such a marginalized one and such a broad spectrum of voices are often unheard. I hope to see many Emprexes over time as they should all know that they are valid, and the greatest service any of us can do is be true to ourselves, and to make damn sure we are as expressive and as vocal as we all have the right to be.”

Continental, AKA Chris Reed, will reign with Misty and travel across several realms to uphold and maintain relationships with other houses and to represent Vancouver on an international level. Alongside Misty, Continental is also the co-creator and co-producer of The Creamery, a custom couture clothing haus in Railtown.

Kendell Yan is a queer, second-generation POC who navigates the hyphen of mixed ethnicity LGBTQ2+ living in Vancouver. Kendell has a penchant for drag Queens and Kings that borders on obsession, and he favours events that encourage free expression, inclusivity, and love in all flavours.

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