The Reign of Joey Young

Joey Young crowned Mr. P Town Pride 2023.

Joey Young.

P Town Bar in Oakland hosted its annual P Town Pride Pageant, and a new winner has been crowned. Joey Young, a local queer artist, has won the title of Mr. P Town Pride 2023. 

If you were at Pittsburgh Pride, you may recognize Young, the performer donned in red giving an electric performance. Young competed in the P Town Pride Pageant after deciding that he wanted to share his story. 

“I had been performing at a lot of the open stage shows that are hosted by Scarlet Fairweather and DJ Burning Brigitte at PTown Bar on Tuesdays (called Mom’s Basement) since I turned 21 last November, in between traveling to perform at Pride celebrations across the country,” Young said.

“When I heard of the pageant, I initially was a bit intimidated since it was so new to me. But I knew the stories I had from my upbringing as an openly queer person in McKeesport, especially being very visibly queer in High school. I had a story to tell that represented what happens to queer youth when they’re allowed to be authentic from a young age and I knew I needed to showcase that story at the Ptown Pride Pageant.” 

Competing in P Town Pride is the first pageant that Young has ever competed in, and he feels extremely thankful for the experience. 

Joey Young.

“Winning the title of Mr. P Town Pride, as a very feminine queer male artist, signals that we as a community are progressing in the right direction,” he said. “When many people see me, they don’t know how to categorize me due to how feminine I appear. Many don’t know whether I may be transgender or a drag queen and are usually taken back when they hear I exclusively use He/Him pronouns and still identify as a man (even while performing.) But when it comes to what I wear, how I perform, and what I create, I just don’t see those things as male or female. I see it as things that I do because it comes naturally and authentically from my heart.”

He shared that he was thankful that P Town Bar is inclusive in allowing queer people of all identities to compete in the pageant. 

“[Their inclusivity] shows me that we as a community are taking steps toward creating an even more inclusive environment for all of us, even if we don’t know or understand who someone is or how they identify,” he shared. 

Young’s competition package included pieces of fashion and music from his career. 

“As unique as this might sound, the process of prepping for this pageant was years in the making, something I didn’t even realize until I thought about it in hindsight,” Young said. “From corsets, shorts, and 7-inch heels with 10s of thousands of individually hand-placed rhinestones, that took me over 100 hours to complete became my performance and crowning look.” 

He stated that it was an honor to share his story. He went from a young queer kid who was bullied for being a male cheerleader to the proud winner of the pageant, proud to be himself and perform. Young shared that his favorite part of performing is knowing that he is impacting people positively by being his authentic self and believing in himself. 

Joey Young.

Along with his Mr. P Town win, Young was also the opening performer at Pittsburgh Pride along with the Renaissance City Choir. 

“My team and I are always working toward putting together amazing live performance experiences and are currently in talks for touring in 2024/2025. So keep an eye out for more information on that very soon,” he said. 

Young shared that his new single “Spectacle” is out now on all streaming platforms, and it has a powerful message. 

“It stands as a direct statement against the discrimination the queer community has been experiencing across the country,” Young said. 

The singer is an inspiration for queer people who want to follow their dreams. 

“To many people, chasing your dreams is ‘unrealistic,’ but to me nothing is unrealistic if you’re putting in the work to make them come true,” Young said. “I’ve been in productions since I was a month old literally (where I was Baby Jesus in a nativity show at my cousins church in 2001), I was born to do this. I’ve found a way through performing, but more specifically through my songwriting to help people cope with the loss of loved ones, heartbreak, to find self love and embrace authenticity. To know I’m using my pain to help create a world within my music that helps people heal is part of what makes this so special to me.”

Congratulations to Joey. Long may he reign.

Tia (she/her) is a recent Point Park grad who majored in journalism. She loves all things movies, music, and Pittsburgh! As the summer 2022 QBurgh intern, she’s looking forward to writing about Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ community and highlighting all the cool people doing cool things in the community.