Growing up North West England, Tom/Crystal Rasmussen never saw themselves reflected in culture. Instead, the only reflection they could find was in the mirror – and even that image became warped by an internalised ‘shame monster’ that followed them from school to university. It wasn’t until aged 19, when they stepped out in full drag for the first time, that Tom/Crystal began to fall back in love with what they saw in the mirror – but their journey of self-acceptance had only just begun. By sharing their story, Tom/Crystal shows us that everyone suffers with shame and acts from it: from their silence to their violence. Yet it’s only through shame work that we can ever hope to reduce shame’s power on our thoughts and actions. Tom is an author, journalist, screenwriter and drag queen. Tom’s memoir Diary of a Drag Queen was published to rave reviews and is currently being adapted for television. Tom brought the pages of their memoir to life in their solo drag show: Crystal Rasmussen presents the Bible 2 (Plus a cure for shame, violence, betrayal and athlete’s foot) – one of the top twenty best reviewed shows of the Fringe 2019. Crystal Rasmussen is a self-described ‘Global Phenomenon’. Their second book First Comes Love will be published by Bloomsbury in early Summer 2021. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Tom/Crystal Rasmussen

Drag queen, singer and writer

More from this speaker
Skip to content