On Sunday, the Post-Gazette published three articles that should interest you.
First, there is a front page below-the-fold story profiling local poet Rachel Bovier who rose to local infamy by self-publishing her poetry in the Post-Gazette Celebration section and on a billboard on Baum Boulevard. Her journey has been documented through the public interest in her poetry. Now filmmaker Brett Yasko is documenting her story and the PG follows both of them to several public poetry readings and performances. Rachel (who prefers to go by her first name only) candidly discusses her transition in this article.
Next, there’s a feature on Kierra Darshell in the Magazine section. Kierra bills herself as Pittsburgh’s First Lady of Drag and has been performing for nearly 30 years. This piece distinguishes drag performers from trans women in that some performers are transgender and some are not. Kierra is not. She lives FT as a gay man, but her shows often feature a range of performers from all walks of the LGBTQ spectrum. Kierra has a holiday drag brunch coming up on December 9 at the Pittsburgh Improv.
Finally, there’s a feature on the proliferation of ‘Drag Queen Bingo’ events throughout the region, including the Mon Valley. Hosted by Ms Thea Trix, these shows benefit firehalls, animal rescues, and more. The article touches lightly on the shock value of drag queens interacting with folks who live in Trump country, but spends equal time exploring the life of Thea aka Jason Zubovic.
Kierra and Jason have both contributed their stories to the #AMPLIFY archive. I’m hoping Rachel will do so, too. One thing that strikes me about these articles is a little bit of skepticism about why they published them on the same day. Obviously, the articles about Kierra and Thea have a common theme, but Rachel is not a drag performer and her transition is not a drag performance. Perhaps it is the fact that they are all performers within the LGBTQ community? Perhaps my bias against the PG is showing, but I’m skeptical that it wasn’t a bit of lumping all women AMAB (looks it up – assigned male at birth) into the same category. How sad that I am so suspicious of our local formerly-daily newspaper.
However, via our project, folks can control their own narrative and legacy. If you’d like to participate, the Q&A takes about 30 minutes and can be found online.
We’d love to have your story, too, in the project where you control the storyline and the editing. I urge you to read all three articles to get a glimpse into the varieties of way that LGBTQ folks embrace performance as an expression of their myriad of identities.