Kierra Darshell is Pittsburgh’s First Lady of Drag #AMPLIFY

Kierra Darshell

#AMPLIFY is pleased to be a (minor) sponsor of the 24th Annual Miss Tri-State All Star Pageant on Sunday, November 6.  And definitely check out the twice monthly drag brunch on the Northside at James St. Tavern!

Name: Kierra Darshell

Age: 50

County of Residence: Allegheny

Preferred Pronouns: Wonderful, Fabulous, Happy

How do you describe your identity? Black gay man and female impersonator

Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? It was hard being the only son but my Mother was very supportive and my Father wasn’t at first but with time he was much better accepting he had a gay son.

How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? Fabulous and truly living in my truth!

Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? A bar tender at my first gay bar the Tender Trap. He taught me to be respectful to myself and body.

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. E. Lynn Harris – read his books when I first came out and was able to identify with so many of the characters.

Lee Daniels – I love his movies and TV show Empire. He’s very comfortable being a black gay movie/TV producer and doesn’t apologize for his agenda.

How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Social media, friends, staying involved in the ‘gay’ community

Describe your geographical community. I live in the City; so the gay community is supported in many ways.

Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. Pittsburgh gay community is good; like any big City things can improve but Pittsburgh came a long way from when I came out in the late 80’s.

Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. Discrimination is part of everyday living; but I don’t allow it to bother me in a direct way.

Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I have health care from my employers and I have a gay friendly PCP.

Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Personally I don’t have any issues with my neighbors but I don’t spend a lot of time with the either. We are more hi/bye neighbors…

What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Fair laws for all and protect others from indirect/direct discrimination due to a person being LGBTQ.

Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I find most people are respectful if you carry yourself with respect!

Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? not understanding LGBTQ, not educated on LGBTQ community

What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Since I live in the City…there are tons of resources.

What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? People harming LGBTQ people because they are a little different.

What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Acceptance

What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? learn about the community

How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? educate themselves

What motivated you to take part in this project? Voice my opinion and to be heard to help make a change for myself and others.

Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. I can’t think of one

Thank you, Kierra.

Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.

AMPLIFY LGBTQ is a series of blog posts designed to give a “signal boost” to the voices of our LGBTQ neighbors throughout Western Pennsylvania. We are using a Q&A format and will minimize editing their responses. 

Our intent is to highlight the voices of marginalized members of our community who are not always invited to the table or whose voices are not heard. These are glimpses in to the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in Western Pennsylvania as told in their own voices. If you would like to participate, please email me pghlesbian at gmail or visit the online Q&A.

You can read the other Q&A responses here.  AMPLIFY! LGBTQ is a project of Most Wanted Fine Art and Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents.



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