Any fans of RuPaul Drag Race or the art of drag itself? Raise your manicured hand!
Well, regardless of your answer – watch how the world of drag and rare diseases collide!
In the current season of the hit reality competition show, drag competitor Yvie Oddly (real name Jovan Bridges) openly talks about her challenges living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).
What is EDS?
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of inherited disorders of the body’s connective tissue. These disorders affect the supportive connective tissue of the skin, bones, blood vessels as well as many organs and body tissues. There are different types of EDS which are defined by their symptoms.
Yvie’s subtype of EDS is Type III, characterized by hyper mobile joints and a deficiency in collagen (connective tissue) that results in pain and repeated injury.
It is estimated that 1 in 2,500 to 5,000 people have EDS worldwide. EDS affects all races and genders equally.
Death Drops, Drag, and Diseases
So in a reality competition show that has a big element of dancing and performing, Yvie’s EDS is a blessing and a curse.
While joints become very mobile (allowing for flexibility)– things can also go wrong, as Yvie colorfully points out:
“I’m just a little worried about hitting my knees ’cause they come out of place a lot. It’s part of my disease I’ve got, girl. All of my s–t pops out!”
Yvie — and clearly the show’s producers — dedicates some time to educate a young audience about EDS, by simply just talking about it.
“I don’t produce a whole lot of collagen, so I have extra skin, like, everywhere. And I’m prone to dislocating my knees and things like that, but it’s not gonna hold me back in this competition.”
Yvie even makes it a point to stretch out the skin on her cheeks and scrunching up the skin on her scalp to show us. And in another episode, Yvie let’s down her guard and shares some of her biggest fears about living with EDS.
My condition is something that’s eventually gonna take me out of drag commission, at least in the way that I’m doing it now… I met somebody who has the same disease as me and is 10 years older. They’re in a wheelchair, they have heart complications — so I get a little vision of my future.
Anyone in the EDS community — and the rare disease community for that matter — can relate to Yvie’s struggles and uncertainty.
But clearly that hasn’t stopped her from doing what she loves and doing it on national television — so she’s exemplifying that we are always more than our disease!
Even though drag is something that has been really hard on my body…if I have to go on stage in a wheelchair, girl I’ll do it!
Watch the clip below because dancing drag queens is always a better way to communicate!