Six-year-old girl nearly drowns in Lake Chestermere

Emergency crews were called to the scene where a young girl was found floating face down in the water at Anniversary Park in the Town of Chestermere at around 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

EMS said bystanders pulled the six-year-old girl out of the water and brought her to shore. She was initially unresponsive but quickly came to and was able to speak with paramedics when they arrived.

Witness Julie Munch said a woman found the little girl.

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“She Carried her out and she was screaming for help. A bunch of people ran over. I saw her carry her out and she wasn’t moving. And then they put her on the ground and they were yelling if anyone knew CPR,” Munch said. “She managed to cough up some water and she started moving.”

“A Woman came over and got her in the recovery position. My husband called 911 and they came within a couple of minutes and she was OK when they came to pick her up.”

The young girl was taken to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in serious, but stable condition.

“She didn’t have a life jacket on.”

“I know that there are some security guards but there is no life guard. It is a problem,” said Munch. “If a child can’t swim and they are ingesting water, then you’re still going to end up with the same problem.”

EMS wants to remind the public about the following safety precautions, if you are spending time at a lake or waterpark this summer;

It is recommended young children / inexperienced swimmers always wear life jackets in and the around water.Do not use other floatation devices (rafts, tubes) without a lifejacket unless you are able to swim.Pay especially close attention to children.  Even in shallow water, loss of footing or other distractions may occur causing an unprotected fall into the water.A small child can disappear under the water in seconds and can drown in only a few centimetres of water – enough to cover the mouth and nose, therefore continual supervision is recommend for young children in and around the water.Small children are also the most vulnerable group for near-drownings.

At least 23 dead in Baghdad after bombs explode in crowded areas

BAGHDAD – Bombs went off early Sunday in two crowded commercial areas in, killing at least 23 people and wounding 61, according to hospital and police officials.

The bombings came near the end of the holy month of Ramadan when the streets were filled with young people and families out after sundown.

In the first attack, a car bomb exploded in the Karada district in central Baghdad, killing 18 people and wounding 45. Shortly afterward, an improvised explosive device went off in eastern Baghdad, killing 5 people and wounding 16.

WATCH: Suicide bomb kills at least 15 in Baghdad (June 9)

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The officials who provided the casualty figures spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in the Karada district in a communique distributed on Telegram and 桑拿会所, according to the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadi online activity. The communique said a suicide car bomber targeted Shiites.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the second bombing.

Nearly an hour after the attack in central Baghdad, ambulances could still be heard rushing to the site. An eyewitness said the explosion set off fires at nearby clothing and cellphone shops.

WATCH: Death toll in for car bomb in Baghdad rises to 63 (May 1

The Baghdad attacks come just over a week after Iraqi forces declared the city of Fallujah “fully liberated” from ISIS. Over the last year, Iraq forces have racked up territorial gains against IS, retaking the city of Ramadi and the towns of Hit and Rutba, all in Iraq’s vast Anbar province west of Baghdad.

Despite the government’s battlefield victories, IS has repeatedly shown it remains capable of launching attacks far from the front-lines.

READ MORE: Fallujah fully liberated from IS group, Iraqi commander says

ISIS still controls Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul as well as significant patches of territory in the country’s north and west.

At the height of the extremist group’s power in 2014, IS rendered nearly a third of the country out of government control. Now, IS is estimated to control only 14 per cent of Iraqi territory, according to the office of Iraq’s prime minister.

LGBTQ gun group Pink Pistols membership spikes after Orlando shooting

SALT LAKE CITY — Memberships have more than doubled in a national LGBTQ pro-gun rights organization since a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Florida, killing 49 people.

Pink Pistols Utah chapter President Matt Schlentz said Pink Pistols membership has grown from 1,500 to 4,000 since Omar Mateen’s June 12 rampage, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

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“It’s really sad that something on this scale had to happen for people to realize this is a need for our community,” Schlentz said.

“But the reality is, we still get attacked for kissing our partners or holding hands in public. We get windows smashed for having an equality sticker on them.

READ MORE: No evidence Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was seeking gay relationships, investigation sources say

Schlentz owns semi-automatic rifles similar to the Sig Sauer MCX that Mateen used and said he gets mixed reactions from people who learn he’s a gun rights advocate.

“Obviously, as a gay man, I have to have some liberal views socially. But on this one point, I have very conservative views. The reality is what it is — the world is a violent, terrible, scary place, and people do wish me harm based on who I love.”

Pink Pistols organized in 2000 in response to a series of violent incidents like the murder in Wyoming of gay college student Matthew Shepard. Some early slogans were “Queers bash back” and “Pick on someone your own caliber.”

WATCH: Transcript of 911 calls from Pulse Nightclub offer chilling timeline of Orlando shooting

Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah is another pro-gun LGBT group.

“As awful as Orlando is, I feel like this is a huge eye-opener for a lot of people that the world is not a perfect place, especially for a group that’s at risk for this kind of violence,” said Scott Mogilefsky, the group’s president and an Army veteran.

READ MORE: RuPaul Charles reflects on Orlando, weighs Canadians on ‘Drag Race’

There was an increase in people inquiring with the group after Orlando, he said.

“Security should be armed at all gay nightclubs, and all employees should run through a defensive shooting course once a year,” Mogilefsky said. “When you think about supremacist groups, a gay bar is an easy target. And the shooter knew that. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.”

For the love of rodeo: Ponoka Stampede celebrates 80 years

For one week each year, the Town of Ponoka balloons to more than 10 times its size to celebrate all things rodeo.

“It’s something that’s a part of my life, and part of everybody’s life here. It’s fabulous,” Barrie Carter, a long-time volunteer with the Stampede, said.

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Carter was born into a Stampede family and this year its extra special. That’s because the Ponoka Stampede is celebrating it’s 80th anniversary.

“My grandfather, in 1935-1936, was one of the original four guys to supply bucking horses and stock,” Carter said. “I came to my first one when I was probably six months old because my mom and dad lived in Ponoka all their lives.”

The event grew from humble beginnings which included a two-day picnic, ball games and bull riding. Today it’s a week-long event with competitors vying for titles in several different arenas.

“We’ve got Bareback, Saddle Bronc, Barrel Racing, Tie-Down Roping, Team Roping, Wild Horse Race, Chuck Wagons, we got it all,” Blair Vold, Ponoka Stampede vice president, said. “The hotels are full, the restaurants are full, the shops and grocery stores. It’s a big thing for the town.”

The grandstand is sold out this year and there are over 3500 campers at the event. Organizers estimate over 80,000 fans will take in the week-long rodeo.

“It’s awesome to see the big crowds like this. The people, the atmosphere. There’s nothing better than this rodeo,” Cody Brett, a Calf-Team Roping Competitor, said. “This rodeo, in the CFR, it makes our whole year. If we do well here, it’s everything.”

“The cowboy way of life is sort of dying so as far as that goes, this is as important as it can get,” Carter said. “It’s part of our heritage.”

The facilities have gotten an upgrade in recent years with a new grandstand and corporate suites as well as a new track. But one thing that won’t change is the way the community embraces the event.

“I think it puts Ponoka on the map,” Carter said. “This is a sleeping giant that comes to life every year. It’s amazing.”

With files from Sarah Kraus, Global News.

Orlando Magic getting 4-year deal with Raptors’ Bismack Biyombo: source

Bismack Biyombo is on his way to Orlando to form a menacing new frontcourt with Serge Ibaka.

The Magic and Biyombo agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal Saturday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a contract cannot be signed until Thursday.

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Biyombo is coming off a breakout year in Toronto. His numbers don’t jump off the page – 5.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.6 blocks in a bench role – but he started to show more of the athleticism, toughness and shot-blocking instincts that caused him to rocket up the draft board five years ago.

Biyombo was the seventh overall pick in 2011, acquired by Charlotte in a draft-night deal with Sacramento. But he never was able to make a true impact in four years there, and some started to label him a bust.

READ MORE: DeMar DeRozan staying with Raptors

In this year’s playoffs, however, he was superb, helping the Raptors finally get out of the first round and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

When Jonas Valanciunas was injured against Miami in the conference semifinals, Biyombo started and was a force. He had 17 points and 16 rebounds in Toronto’s Game 7 victory. He followed that with 26 rebounds and four blocks in a Game 3 victory over Cleveland in the conference finals. He also had 14 boards and three blocks in Game 4.

Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri and coach Dwane Casey were holding out hope that Biyombo might take a discount to remain with the Raptors after they helped him get his career on track. But with big money already committed to DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, DeMarre Carroll and Valanciunas, they were fully expecting Biyombo to price himself out of Toronto.

Orlando acquired Serge Ibaka from Oklahoma City in a draft-night trade. He will play on one side of Biyombo, with promising small forward Aaron Gordon on the other.

READ MORE: NBA draft: Toronto Raptors select Jakob Poeltl with No. 9 pick

It remains to be seen what the Magic do with incumbent centre Nikola Vucevic, one of the better offensive centres in the game over his five years in the league. He averaged 18.2 points and 8.9 rebounds last season.

The Magic could keep Vucevic to give them a productive three-man rotation with Biyombo and Ibaka. Or they could try to trade him, continuing the makeover under general manager Rob Hennigan in a bid to better suit the roster to the style of new coach Frank Vogel.

It’s been a busy off-season for the Magic. They have retained swingman Evan Fournier, added free agents Jeff Green and D.J.

Augustin, traded for Ibaka and brought in Vogel after coach Scott Skiles’ abrupt resignation.

They have not been to the playoffs since 2012. Mixing defensive-minded veterans with a group of younger players like Gordon, Fournier and Elfrid Payton could change that.

Islamic group: Muslim man beaten outside mosque Omar Mateen attended

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Authorities said they have arrested a suspect in the early Saturday beating of a man outside a Florida mosque that Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen had attended, and an Islamic group said the victim was a Muslim.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said racial slurs were made by the attacker, though authorities said they had no immediate indication of any racially motivated comments. Authorities said, however, that they were continuing to investigate.

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St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said deputies were called to the Fort Pierce Islamic Center at 4:11 a.m. Saturday by a caller who said someone was attempting to burglarize a vehicle. His statement said deputies found a man bleeding from the mouth who said he was approached by a man who “asked him what he was doing and then punched him several times in the face and head.”

READ MORE: LGBTQ gun group Pink Pistols membership spikes after Orlando shooting

Masacara added that the man left but an officer’s traffic stop minutes later halted a vehicle and the victim subsequently “positively identified the driver as the man who attacked him.”

The sheriff’s statement said a suspect identified as Taylor Anthony Mazzanti, 25, was arrested and has been charged with felony battery. Mazzanti was booked into jail on a $3,750 bond.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Mazzanti had an attorney.

Masacar didn’t identify the victim, but said he was treated for injuries at a medical center and released.

WATCH: Emotional eulogies at funeral of Orlando shooting victim who died shielding her son

The Council, or CAIR, issued a statement earlier that a white truck stopped at the mosque early Saturday and that a man had made slurs, saying “You Muslims need to get back to your country.”

Mateen’s father is among the roughly 100 members that attend the mosque. Ruiz said Omar Mateen sometimes attended Friday prayers but didn’t socialize with others.

Mascara said there was no initial indication of any such statements though he said more interviews would be conducted in the investigation. The sheriff’s statement also reported no possible motive or any apparent link to the mosque or those attending it.

“Interviews by the deputies and supervisors on scene and a written witness statement completed by the victim do not indicate any racially-motivated comments were made by the suspect prior to, during or after the incident,” Mascara said. “However, we are further investigating the incident and detectives will be interviewing the suspect, victim and (an) apparent witness that has now been identified by the Council of Islamic-American Relations.”

CAIR said there was a witness to the beating it identified as Abdul Rauf Khan, 43.

READ MORE: RuPaul Charles reflects on Orlando, weighs Canadians on ‘Drag Race’

Reached by phone by The Associated Press, Khan said he was driving from his home in Boca Raton when it was nearing time for morning prayers around 4 a.m. Saturday. He stopped at the mosque and saw the victim in the parking lot struggling to enter his car after locking the keys inside. He said a man approached, began punching the victim in the face and knocked out one of the man’s teeth.

“He just start throwing punches and saying all kinds of foul language,” said Khan, adding he called 911.

The Council statement said the sheriff’s office has repeatedly ignored pleas to tighten security since Mateen fatally shot 49 people at a nightclub two weeks ago. “Unfortunately, our requests were repeatedly ignored,” said CAIR spokesman Wilfredo Amr Ruiz.

Mascara denied that, saying in his statement Saturday that he and his agency “have repeatedly attempted to communicate with the mosque to explore options of working together and there has been no response.” He previously said deputies are patrolling the mosque more frequently.

Provincial series event latest sign of BMX racing resurgence in Saskatoon

A group of local BMX racers were part of history Saturday, as Saskatoon hosted its first Saskatchewan Cup and provincial series races in nearly 20 years.

The event is a major milestone for a sport that was all but extinct in the city for the better part of a decade.

READ MORE: University of Toronto professor designs app that helps cyclists avoid pollution

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  • New mountain bike course at FortWhyte Alive on the way for 2017

  • City of Dorval unveils unique mountain bike experience

  • Edmonton to host extreme sports championship this summer

    In 1997 Saskatoon hosted the BMX World Championships, establishing the city as a hot sport for the sport. However the years that followed saw a sharp decline in local participation, largely due to the closure of the city’s only track.

    Recently, BMX has made a comeback thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and a growing number of young riders.

    “It’s really fun. I’m glad I got the opportunity to join and I’m probably going to stick in it for further years,” said 15-year-old Devan Doucette, who has been riding BMX bikes for a few years but only started racing competitively in 2016.

    Veteran racer Makenna Foster, 14, remembers a time when fellow BMX riders were few and far between.

    “It’s so exciting this year to have 120 racers. We’re doing really good. There was only four of us when I started,” she said.

    READ MORE: Paracyclist Carla Shibley hopes to inspire other by overcoming hurdles

    The key to the turnaround was the opening of Globe BMX Raceway in 2010.

    The track, located next to the Lakewood Civic Centre, is on city property but maintained by the riders, their parents, and other volunteers. The Raceway was established as a club with roughly 15 members and has since grown to 120, ranging in age from three to 50.

    The provincial races serve notice that Saskatoon is officially back on the BMX map.

    “Everyone’s looking at us. Alberta BMX cannot believe what we’re doing here in this city because their numbers are staying stale. We’re growing every year by leaps and bounds. We are the talk of this country right now,” said race coordinator Erik Foster.

    BMX racing has been an official Olympic sport since the 2008 Games in Beijing, and that has some local riders dreaming big.

    “I’d never really thought about it that much, but going to a national level would be cool if I could get proper training,” Doucette said.

    Raceway president Dennis Rennie feels it’s only a matter of time before someone from Saskatoon is wearing the Maple Leaf.

    “I think if a lot of these kids starting now stay with it, I’m pretty sure we’ll see an Olympian coming out of Saskatoon in the near future,” he said.

    A future that once again looks very bright.

Largest canoe race regatta in Western Canada draws hundreds of athletes to Wascana Lake

Over 200 racers flocked to Regina’s Wascana Lake to test their speed and skills on the water, competing in the Canada Day Classic regatta.

The two-day competition saw most racers coming from Western Canada like Alberta or Manitoba, but there were others that came from as far away as Seattle and Oklahoma City.

“We drove about 22 hours north to come here and race,” Oklahoma City team coach Aasim Saleh said.

The American team of canoers and kayakers, was made up of 25 boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

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He said they made the long drive because of the high skill level in Canada.

“We get to come up here, train with the Canadians. They’re some of the best paddlers in the world,” Saleh explained.

Athletes can race in singles, doubles or even in a 14-person war canoe, with varying age groups.

“People can start as early as seven years old and there’s competitors that’s 65 years old,” Don Anderson, Wascana Racing Canoe Club Vice-Commodore, said.

Among the racers is Zoey Bourgeois. She started paddling at the age of 10 years old, and six years later, it’s become part of her lifestyle.

“I’ve just been in the sport for so long, I don’ t know what I would do if I didn’t come down to the club everyday and go for a paddle,” Bourgeois said.

The 10-time medalist at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games said the sport has given her new meaning to the phrase “float your own boat.”

“You’re doing your own thing.”

“You’re out there, you’re all alone just in your boat with your paddle,” she said.

Coaches said the sport is an alternative to more popular sports but it’s just as important.

“There’s a lot of kids that haven’t really found their place in athletics or just in general, and kayaking is a place that a lot of kids… find a place,” Saleh said.

The two-day event has races going almost every five minutes, from shorter distances like 200m to 1000m sprints.

“It’s all about being in time, so there’s single boats, there’s K2 (which means) two-person kayak,” Anderson said.

“It’s all about being in time with your teammates. The better time you’re in, the faster you’ll go,” he said.

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Longueuil mayor a no-show for Greenfield Park Canada Day celebrations

LONGUEUIL – Canada Day in Greenfield Park had its fair share of controversy this year.

The City of Longueuil decided to enforce a protocol that prevented Greenfield Park councillors Robert Myles and Wade Wilson from speaking during the celebrations.

“I don’t understand why, the last two years it’s been good and now because the mayor is coming she’s taking over protocol, it’s not the way we work in Greenfield Park. It’s all about traditions,” said borough president Robert Myles.

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  • Longueuil mayor says she’s received threats over language spat

    Longueuil protocol states that only federal members of parliament, provincial member of the national assembly, and the city mayor can address crowds during Canada Day and St-Jean-Baptiste Day.

    READ MORE: Greenfield Park borough councillors barred from speaking at Canada Day celebrations

    Mayor Caroline St-Hilaire promised that she would come to Greenfield Park to celebrate Canada Day, but she never showed up.

    “Which was very disturbing, Greenfield Park is all about respect and tradition,” said Wilson. “This tradition has been going on forever and for her to try and stop it is appalling and very disrespectful to our citizens.”

    Instead St-Hilaire sent a representative, and that has the borough president Robert Myles furious.

    “You know in a way, I’m glad she didn’t show up,” said Myles. “The citizens that were here weren’t going to be happy because they weren’t going to let myself speak and I’m pretty sure she would have gotten booed.”

    Myles said the mayor sending representatives for Canada Day is nothing new, but in the past he was allowed to address his constituents officially.

    “To me it is very petty, she is playing political games, that’s fine with her but the citizens of Greenfield Park know what’s going on.”

    READ MORE: Language debate dominates Longueuil city council

    Myles and Wilson took matters into their own hands.

    “They said we could come on stage however we couldn’t speak and that wasn’t good enough for us,” said Wilson. “So we went to the side of the hill and we did our speech and we had great feedback from the citizens. Unfortunately she (the mayor) incited some divisiveness in between the French and the English.”

    In a video posted on Facebook by someone in the crowd, Wilson is seen giving  a passionate speech on Canadian values and the crowd can be heard cheering.

    Myles for his part vowed that the city of Longueuil had not heard the end of it yet.

    He plans to bring it up at the next council meeting on Tuesday.

    City of Longueuil officials would not comment on-the-record.

RuPaul Charles reflects on Orlando, weighs Canadians on ‘Drag Race’

TORONTO – International drag queen extraordinaire RuPaul is taking a moment to hang up the wig and evening gown to get serious with Canadians.

The sassy performer, known for steering the ship on reality TV competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will appear at Toronto’s Pride celebrations on Sunday to address the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse night club in early June.

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It’s part of a speech where RuPaul Charles, his name off the drag runways, will reflect on the new meaning of Pride and the importance of LGBTQ people coming together as a community in the wake of tragedy.

READ MORE: Why some in LGBTQ community choose not to be referred by acronym

Charles, who is scheduled to speak at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto at 7 p.m., spoke to about Pulse night club and lightened the mood with some hints at whether a Canadian contestant could soon be on “Drag Race.”

CP: You have a particularly close connection to Pulse because a few queens from “Drag Race” were once employees of the club. What was your reaction when you heard about the shooting?

Charles: It’s absolutely horrible for so many reasons. Just as humans on this planet that we’re still in this place that’s so primitive where we … haven’t figured out a way to override the negativity. All these killings around the world – with bombings of airports and mass murders – really speak to the human condition.

(They’re) alarms that should force us to collectively come together.

WATCH: Liem Vu chats with Kim Chi, the Korean-American drag queen, about her time on Rupaul’s Drag Race and what people can expect from her performance during Pride

CP: Celebrities like Drake and Nicki Minaj have been criticized by some gay activists for not speaking out against Orlando on social media, while responses from Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift were called too slow. Do you think celebrities need to address tragedies like this?

Charles: People deal with grief in many different ways. And some people in show business parade their relationships around like an accessory and others like to keep it separate from business and commerce. It’s perfectly fine to say “I actually don’t want to talk about my love because that’s not part of the fantasy world I created in commerce.” The same with grief.

CP: Did you feel a responsibility to react?

Charles: I was stunned for days after (Orlando). I don’t even know if I’ve talked about it on social media. I’ve talked about it on television and interviews. When I was asked about it on television I said “I don’t want to minimize the impact and tragedy by putting my words into some celebrity soundbite. This is much bigger than that.” I’m still stunned by the whole thing. (Note: Charles retweeted media stories where he was quoted, but didn’t directly tweet about Orlando in the aftermath.)

CP: What do you plan to talk about on stage at Toronto’s Pride festivities?

Charles: My focus is on love and inclusiveness. We’ve had this adolescent outlook on life for far too long and it’s time for us to take the human race to the next level. I believe that LGBT people can do that. We’ve always been on the forefront of human development, at looking at life from a broader perspective. We look at it from a place where we’ve been shunned. In my life I’ve been able to really examine society in a way most people who aren’t outsiders don’t get a chance to do.

WATCH: Thu, Jun 30: An image found online, along with heightened concern after the Orlando shooting, have prompted police to increase security measures at Canada’s largest pride celebration. Peter Kim reports.

CP: You’ve had an absence of Canadians on “Drag Race” over the years. Could we possibly see a Canuck contestant next season?

Charles: It’s an immigration issue, honestly. That’s what it comes down to, that’s why we have American queens. In fact, I don’t want to give anything away, but we’ve spoken to some queens who have papers to work in the United States.

CP: Looking back on your experiences since bursting onto the mainstream in the early 1990s, do you feel things have changed much?

Charles: Humans are pretty much the same. That’s why these tragedies are a huge benchmark in the history of humans on this planet. We have an opportunity and an obligation to the people who lost their lives, to really shift and take off this mask. Are we gun totin’, stand-your-ground cowboys or are we going to evolve this race to the next level?

READ MORE: Canada still needs a Trans March to highlight discrimination, barriers: advocate

CP: There has been a growing focus on transgender issues, but there’s a big difference between trans people and drag – drag being a colourful stage performance and transgender people a serious lifestyle. Where do you think drag fits into the broader conversation?

Charles: Drag is very important because it’s an elevated consciousness that says, “I’m going to be on this planet and play with all the textures and all the colours, and I’m not going to confine myself to night or day, black or white, male or female.”

I’ve never personally differentiated a person who dressed up in a three-piece suit and goes to Wall Street from a person who dresses up in a polyester uniform and works at McDonalds. I think it’s all drag.

CP: So what makes drag performers unique from the rest of society’s drag?

Charles: Drag queens who perform in clubs are actually putting emphasis on that. We’re having fun with it. It’s more obvious in a laughing kind of way – a way to say “Ha ha ha, we’re shape-shifters.” But when you really break it down, that’s the message, everybody is shape-shifter. To limit yourself to one thing, it’s your business, but you have a choice.