WinterPride is running now until this Friday, but get this: last night’s signature event, “It’s Drag, Henny!” was hosted by Bob The Drag Queen, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8. Yes, you read that right.
Capital Pride’s Executive Director Osmel B. Guerra Maynes says this year’s edition of WinterPride included “everything from celebrating and connecting to educating.”
This year’s festival opened up with an intersectional panel discussion on anti-Black racism moderated by Maynes and featuring Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Rodney Diverlus, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, and social activist Kelendria Nation.
Maynes was excited to promote a Google learning session taking place Thursday, February 11, at 5:30 p.m. (still time to check it out!) that “explains how to grow your business with Google, allowing folks who are at home […] to gain new skills, so that they can go out into the workforce and change up their career path and whatnot.”
This year’s edition of WinterPride, like most events nowadays, is taking place in cyberspace. (Shocking, we know.) That said, Maynes wants everyone to know: “Pride is not cancelled. Pride is never cancelled… We want folks who were looking forward to WinterPride to know that, just because we’re in a pandemic, doesn’t mean we cannot continue to provide space and entertainment.” So if you’d like to stream the remaining events, you can do so by visiting Capital Pride’s website.
“Pride is not cancelled. Pride is never cancelled.”
Speaking of entertainment, we all know that Pride would be a drag without the Queens, so I spoke to Kiki Coe, one of the Drag Queens that performed at this year’s WinterPride. She says she recorded two performances for the festival. “That’s the thing with the shows now, it’s all virtual and recorded. It’s way different than before.”
Coe says that eight years ago, she never thought she would be doing Drag as a profession: “One Halloween, I just tried to dress up, and then I started doing it twice a month. After six months, I started performing… The reason I like to do drag is the power of it. Through your performance, look, and costume, without even saying a word, it just screams out what you’re trying to say.”
Despite the roadblocks arising from the pandemic, it seems our local Queens are finding ways to make it werk. Coe says she has a drag room in her basement where she sets up different backdrops, depending on the type of show that is requested of her. Last summer, she found different venues around the city to help her switch things up.
“For you to stay relevant in this industry, you have to be a very well-rounded Queen. It’s crazy. They are like mushrooms spreading out everywhere,” Coe says, referring to all the new Queens popping up on the scene due to the growing popularity of the Drag Arts.
We did request an interview with Bob The Drag Queen, but she snubbed us. We get it, though—we’re sure she has plenty of things to do between online performances and not shaving her legs (because, let’s be honest, who shaves during COVID?). But we’re not salty. Who’s salty? Besides, what’s Pride without a little shade?
WinterPride continues until Friday, February 12. Thursday night you can catch Queer Acoustic Soul with Kimberly Sunstrum, and on Friday evening the Capital Pride Youth Committee and Ottawa Art Gallery Youth Council present INStudio Winter Edition, a youth-focused art show featuring local 2SLGBTQ+ artists. Find all the action on their website.