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Dustin Schlong has been a queer hero in Denver for a while now. Between being a drag icon and one of the major reasons drag kings have been getting so much respect, his power drag couple relationship with Evelyn Evermore, and his work in the cannabis industry, he’s been quite busy.

So, it was a rude awakening, and a painful reminder of the fragility of human health when he was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was also a reminder of the medical issues that can be especially impactful to trans folks.

But luckily, Dustin isn’t the kind of person to let cancer set him back. Not only is he planning on jumping right back into drag while he recovers, he’s also planning to use this as a teaching moment for the community.

“I’ve been trying to spread the word in regards to being a trans-identifying person with ovarian cancer,” he said. “It’s kind of a weird thing to have to talk about. I want to use this as an opportunity to reach more people.”

“Sometimes it’s hard for trans people to get themselves to a doctor and make sure everything’s fine. Things can still happen; get yourself checked out, because it can get so much worse. I definitely want to use this as a platform to reach people,” Dustin said.

Now that his cancer scare is over, however, Dustin wants to get back to doing what he does best: drag.

“I really just want to take everything up another level, especially now that the tumor is out of me,” he said. “Overall, I’ve lost like 40 pounds over the last couple months from all of this, and I’m ready to get back to it. Dancing has always been my favorite part of drag, so I really want to get more into that. I want to do Drag Nation again. If I can do Drag Nation with a 25-pound tumor, then I can definitely do it without one! I really just want to keep setting everything up, because it was on a good path before going into the hospital. I just want to keep that momentum going.”

Luckily for us, part of his path to getting back on track with drag involves co-headlining Aurora Pride with his partner, Evelyn Evermore. He’s excited to take center-stage and help host the festivities.

“The two of us get really dumb on the mike together, so it’ll be a lot of fun,” Dustin said. “And being able to work with Alaska is going to be amazing. I got to meet her when she was here for Drag Nation a couple months ago, and she’s super nice, super cool, and friendly. I’m also really excited to just be a drag king hosting a Pride event. That in itself is awesome.”

Catch Dustin, Evelyn, and the entire Aurora Pride crew on August 3.

Photo courtesy of Soona Studios