Drag Queen Shares Hope For Inclusivity During Pride

Lynne Hayes-Freeland
June 07, 2019 - 3:47 pm

Lynne Hayes-Freeland / Drag Queen Akasha L Vancarde'a

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - It’s a busy weekend for the city of Pittsburgh.

Pride celebrations begin Friday evening in Pittsburgh with a performance by Walk the Moon on the Pennsylvania Lottery Stage located at 9th & Ft. Duquesne Blvd. However, some people may not understand the significance Pride weekend holds for members of the LGBTQ community.

“Pride is specifically important to us and our community because we get an opportunity to display who we really are,” Drag Queen Akasha L Vancarde'a told KDKA Radio’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland on KDKA Radio Friday afternoon. “We get a chance to step out of our box, and feel safe in public streets and public settings, being who we are for a small period of time surrounded by our peers, allies and loved ones.”

Vancarde'a told Lynne that there are times when individuals don’t feel safe being who they are. “We face a lot of fears within the city limits as well as within the world. You see nationally that there is an issue with trans visibility as well as LGBT visibility,” Vancarde’a said. “There are times where people can feel empowered to do something wrong or evil towards us because they don’t understand the stance or because we don’t line up with them.”

“The bottom line is we are human. We do exist and we do deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else in America,” Vancarde’a said.

“I welcome straight and heterosexual people to do anything they feel is necessary to celebrate our Pride with us,” Vancarde’a told Lynne. “To me, it’s not just about gay pride. It’s about pride within yourself, pride within your community and pride with what you believe you to be.”

Vancarde’a said that if straight or heterosexual individuals decide to join in the celebration, they should be uplifting. “Hug somebody, love somebody, show somebody that you appreciate them. This is a short period of time where the LGBT community does get to display themselves and put themselves on display. So I just want to show that a lot of heterosexual people do have that same respect and that love to be our allies and to uplift us and see us stride through and make it.”

Pride weekend is more than just a celebration. “There are lots of booths. The Central Wellness Outreach Center will be there. I’m sure UPMC will have a booth. You will be able to get free HIV testing. You will be able to get STD testing,” Vancarde’a said. “There will be educational booths, such as the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh which won Best Literary Event for our Drag Queen Story Hour last year. So we will be back, we will be spreading education, health and happiness.”

A full list of Pride events are available on the Pittsburgh Pride Website.

Ashley Funyak contributed to this article.

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