Growing up in the Caribbean, Monét X Change saw no LGBTQ representation. But then there was St. Lucia Carnival every summer.

“There was this one tall gay dude. His name was Sharmark. He was, like, 6 feet 5 and he would be in, like, a woman’s garment. It was, like, the bra and the panties and the thong and, like, living his dreams, living his truth,” Monét said. “There was something about him being so unapologetically himself.”

Fast-forward several decades, and Monét X Change is now on VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. But living authentically as one’s self is no sashay down the runway. “I cannot lie to you and say that I that it is going to be easy. I can’t lie to you to say that it’s going to just blow over,” Monét told The Root.

Still, the St. Lucian native found comfort sharing her identity, despite her conservative Caribbean upbringing. Since The Root’s profile of Monét went live on social media, her family has had a new level of understanding.

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