Visibili-T is dedicated to transgender members of our community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, some you know and many you don’t. It is designed to amplify their voices and detail their experiences in life.
This issue, we check in with Central Florida drag performer and entertainer Draggedy Anne, better known to his friends as Spencer Robertson.
Robertson has been performing drag throughout Central Florida, including in Orlando, DeLand, Sanford and Daytona, for eight years. In that time he has built a solid support system anchored by his drag family, drag mother Dollya Black and partner and fellow drag performer, Tobi Layton aka Sue Cyde. His start in drag came at the Hamburger Mary’s in Daytona.
“My mom took me to the drag shows there,” he recalls. “I remember watching the show, now obviously I’m a trans man, and for the longest time I was like ‘Oh, I’m not allowed to do that because I wasn’t born a man’ and that was the only people that I saw doing it.”
After observing several drag performers, Robertson came to the conclusion that not only was he able to perform drag but that there was no good reason he shouldn’t be allowed to.
“It made me a little mad because I’m gay, I’m a man, I should be able to engage in the same things that other gay men engage in and it shouldn’t matter that I’m trans. So I said I’m just gonna do it. I talked to the people at Hamburger Mary’s and that’s where I started performing,” he says.
Robertson planned his first routine and performed “Greedy” by Ariana Grande.
“There was only about 10 people there,” he says. “I lost my shoe, the music wasn’t working. It was kind of a disaster, to be honest.”
While his first time on a drag stage wasn’t perfect, Robertson didn’t let that slow him down, and soon Draggedy Anne was getting the crowds on their feet. His drag name came about because he wanted a persona that was unique within drag that had a part cute/part spooky vibe and spoke to the alternative side of his personality.
“I’ve always been super into dolls, dressing up, cosplay, makeup; those creative things have always piqued my interest,” Robertson says. “I feel like dolls are a fun, creative outlet for someone who’s into makeup and hair and fashion. I also wanted to embrace the girly side of me because I still have a feminine side being a queer man and I like to embrace that side of myself. I think that more men should no matter whether you’re trans or not.”
Robertson, who also identifies as bisexual, says that coming out as trans shouldn’t result in repressing his femininity just to “fit in with other boys.”
“I think that when you’re a trans person, and obviously not every trans person because we’re not a monolith, but I feel like there’s a large amount of trans people that once they start transitioning, there is this need to try and fit like a ‘straight person,’” he says. “I am more like a gay boy, so there’s no reason why I can’t fit myself into that and why I can’t have community with them and share space with them.”
He adds that he began to feel more comfortable embracing his feminine qualities when he became more comfortable viewing himself as a man.
“I think that everybody has feminine and masculine qualities and that you should be allowed to express those sides of yourself as much or as little as you feel like it. You shouldn’t have anybody argue with that or feel any type of way about that,” he says. “There are so many cis men that are super feminine naturally and nobody questions their manhood. But people question mine just because I was born different.”
That embrace of both his masculine and feminine sides is what initially drew Layton to him. In a previous Visibili-T, Layton confessed that seeing Draggedy, a trans drag performer, on stage inspired in him to start performing. The pair have been together for three years now.
“This is always what I wanted out of a relationship,” Robertson says. “Ever since I got solidified and doing drag and had a supportive drag house, my life has revolved around my creative endeavors. I realized after doing drag for so long that if I was going to date anyone they would have to be on that same like wavelength with me, because those are all the things that I wanted to do with my life. I needed someone who was going to match that.”
Robertson adds that having someone that enjoys the same things and gets his passions is one of the most rewarding things he has ever experienced in his life.
“It makes it feel like our lives just fit together so perfectly and I am genuinely so grateful that he was wanting to do drag and ready to support me and my drag and in my art — and now I get to support him doing his,” he says.
Draggedy Anne can be seen performing in Kandi Krave at the Conduit in Winter Park Oct. 17. He will also be hosting a show with Davi Oddity called ShowGhouls on Oct. 24 at The Dust, formerly known as the Stardust Café. To keep up with all of Draggedy Anne’s appearances, follow him on Instagram at @draggedyanne.
Interested in being featured in Visibili-T? Email Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Williams in Central Florida or Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent in Tampa Bay.