Drag N’At – Uplifting Our Whole Drag and Gender Performance Community

Hey! Welcome to the frequent(ish) column here at QueerPGH  highlighting our drag community!  We are a collective of performers and supporters from all over the city looking to really shine the light on our drag community, to lift it up not once, but all year round. The main organizers of this column are Lyndsey Sickler and Kitt Kavenaugh.  Lyndsey is a long term drag enthusiast and event producer with a strong focus on drag-centered events (since around 2000) in the city of Pittsburgh, and Kitt Kavanaugh is a young, accomplished drag king in the city same glorious city.  We have joined together with a few other performers and producers to share the breadth, depth, and diversity of our gender performance community in this fine city. 

Fabulous-looking person with teal hair, lipstick, and scarf, Lyndsey Sickler
Lyndsey Sickler

Lyndsey: Pittsburgh is a city that is growing, vibrant, and diverse in so many ways. Our gender performance community is no exception. Gender performers in this city span a wide range of genres including drag kings, drag queens, burlesque, boi-lesque, femme, hyper queens (some would prefer the term ‘drag queen’, thank you) and more. Pittsburgh has a long history of gender performance, and this column will be focusing on just that: the history, present, and future of all the glorious queer gender-bent fauxery that is drag in Pittsburgh.  

Extremely handsome drag king Kitt Kavanaugh, wearing a purple dress shirt and tie
Kitt Kavanaugh

Kitt: On November 1st, Pittsburgh City Paper released a ‘Drag Issue’ of their paper. Many of us drag performers were excited that a drag issue was a realization and had high hopes for good representation of the community, especially with the addition of an incredible young performer for the cover story. Many of us were sorely disappointed, especially those of us who aren’t drag queens. Yeah! That’s right! There are more than just drag queens who are part of the drag and gender performance community here in Pittsburgh, as well as communities all over the world.  The sad part is that I have to explain that all the time. Most people, even solely in the LGBT community, don’t know what a drag king is, let alone those outside of our community. This is why, as a drag king, I was so excited about a drag issue, with the hopes of all of the amazing drag in this city being highlighted. Finally, drag was being shown as a positive force of incredible talent in this city to those not just the LGBT community. Unfortunately, the issue fell very short in a lot of ways. It was not representative of this community at all. There was one article that slightly touched on drag kings and wasn’t even fully correct in the topic areas they chose to talk about. There is so much diversity, talent and beauty in this community that was once again not given the recognition it deserves, so we plan to change that. We want you to see what this community really looks like.

Lyndsey and Kitt: We are going to work together to flesh out the full glory that is the city of Pittsburgh’s Drag community.  We will have highlighted profiles from our forbearers in the drag scene, Drag N’At: Her-story, His-story, Their-story, to lift up the folks that helped build our respective communities over the last few decades as well as highlights on venues, shows, productions and so much more.  There will also be future profile articles that will highlight some of our other writers and go more in-depth on why they got involved and what their interests are.

We have several writers working on  this column and they range from producers to performers, some who have been around since the gods were young and others who have just started to dip their toes in the waters of gender performance. We expect to be releasing columns about every two weeks, so check back soon!

This article originally appeared on QueerPgh.com. This article is preserved as a part of the Q Archives project. Please consider donating to help preserve Pittsburgh’s Queer history.