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Real Life

Real life: I'm a drag queen dad of four

Shawn Cady, 40, Charnwood, ACT is breaking down gender boundaries!

By As told to Take 5

Shawn Cady, 40, Charnwood, ACT speaks to Take 5:

Eyeing the lovely floral dress hanging in the shop window, I sighed with longing.
I would have given anything to buy it, but I couldn't.
I was 30 years old, and a dad to four amazing kids: Ezra, eight, Anastasia, seven, Shaniqua, three, and Dominika, two, and I knew it wasn't the norm for fathers to wear women's clothes.
When my relationship ended and I became a single dad, I met other men who liked wearing feminine clothing, too.
With their support, I coloured my hair and bought my first skirt and blouse.
To start, I just wore the clothes around the house before slowly building up the confidence to step out in public.
I was worried how the kids would react but I sat them down and explained that this was part of me.
"I love my new daddy," Anastasia said. "You look happier now."
Their acceptance was a huge relief.
Me with Anastasia. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
By then, Anastasia was so fashion-conscious, I always asked her for outfit advice.
One day, I slipped into a pink dress and she studied me.
"Something's missing," she said, before pulling out a scarf and wrapping it around my neck.
"Much better!" she smiled approvingly.
Anastasia was the best little stylist I could have asked for.
Throughout my journey, I came to realise I was non-binary – a gender identity that's neither male or female.
Me as MadB, I love performing and hope it helps others. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
"You're both our dad and another mum," the kids told me.
This gave me the confidence to start doing drag performances under the stage name MadB.
I added burlesque and comedy to my routine and I usually have the crowd in stitches.
My kids love sharing their opinion on outfits or make-up – they even helped me create a Queen of Hearts costume.
"You rock!" they always tell me after the show.
With support, I'm living my dream. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
Meeting other dads who do drag has been an added bonus; we all support each other and share our experiences in breaking down gender boundaries.
I'll continue performing for as long as I can and hope that my story inspires others to see it's never too late to be the real you.

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