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This Drag Queen Is Trying To Save The Amazon With Performance Art

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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A 27-year-old Brazilian biologist is spreading his message of conserving the Amazon River region with his drag queen alter ego.

Emerson Munduruku transforms himself into his character Uyra Sodoma, who wears red face paint, a long skirt and a leafy headpiece, to travel from village to village along the Amazon River.

“Fundamental to the project is using the jungle as both an inspiration and a tool,” Munduruku told AFP. “This helps to connect people to the forest.” (RELATED: It Took National Geographic 7 Months To Admit It ‘Went Too Far’ Linking An Iconic Image Of A Dying Polar Bear To Global Warming)

The character of Uyra gave Munduruku a “new lease on life” after he was attacked for “wearing lipstick and eyeliner” outside a bar in the Brazilian city of Manaus, he said.

It takes Munduruku two hours to become Uyra.

“She makes me more comfortable in my skin and with other people, as well as with my desires and concerns,” Munduruku said.

He is of indigenous descent and was born in the Amazon region. He decided to study biology while at university but now sees himself as taking a more holistic approach to environmentalism.

“I was doing it from a scientific perspective but I realized it was also important from a social perspective,” Munduruku told AFP. “Until then, Uyra had no face or name.”

He often teaches children about conservation, and said he does not believe in gender.

“They’re the same, female, male,” he said. “All I need is that people treat me with respect.”

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