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Lady Bunny brings her glitzy outfits, sky-high wigs and mouthy mic to the Monsanto Local Performance Stage as emcee for St. Louis PrideFest on Saturday, June 28 from 1-4p.m. We caught up with the Wigstock legend to talk Pride, RuPaul and the debate over slurs in our community. 

 

We’re excited to have you at PrideFest. What do you have in store for St. Louis audiences this summer? 

 

Well, I like twisted comedy so I do a lot of raunchy song parodies. I have plenty of new ones from Pharell to Daft Punk and Katy Perry. I also goof on a lot of the celebrities we all love to hate—like Kim Kardashian and Just Bieber. I have loads of new material—I just let out a few of my dresses! Which is a good thing because the last time I was in St. Louis they took me to Sweetie Pie's for the best fried fish I’ve ever eaten. I even got a t-shirt. 

 

What does Pride mean to Lady Bunny? 

 

Shame is the opposite of pride, so I think we should feel no shame about our lifestyles. There will always be mean kids at school and Bible-thumpers who want to convince us from an early age that being gay is wrong. I think we have to develop a strength of purpose which enables us to say, “There is nothing wrong with me. I’m being what I was meant to be. And if someone else can’t deal with it then that’s their problem.” Whether it’s a schoolyard bully, the church or some Republican who is trying to ban gay marriage or equal opportunities for housing and/or employment – rather than allow them to dismiss us, we need to dismiss them. As in “Poof! You have no power here!” 

 

Gay Pride Day is a way to demonstrate our strength in numbers. And I think it’s important to honor the important people within our community—not just the celebrities who support us. There are some very important people in every gay community who may not be famous, but they give their time regularly to support others. I think this is a day to applaud their selflessness, and learn from it. It’s important that older people teach the younger ones about everything from safe sex to gay history. We’ve come a long way—further than most other minorities in a shorter time—but we’ve still got a long way to go before we’re all accepted all over the world. Some international ugliness has reared its head in Russia and in Uganda lately and we need international solidarity. At the end of the day, if you’ve spent your life only concerned with only yourself, why would you expect a helping hand when you need one? You never extended yours! 

 

Why did you decline being a judge on Ru Paul’s Drag Race? 

 

This is a bizarre internet rumor. I was never asked to be a judge on Drag Race. I was asked to be a judge on Drag U, I accepted and had a blast. Why would I accept a gig as a judge on the less popular show? I’m wacky, but not stupid! I’m always delighted when Ru finds a way to include little things about me on the show—even if it’s a joke at my expense. Some people try to see it as drama, but I’m from the old school where queens joke about everything. And even though Ru is only 1 year older than I, he will always be that one year older! 

 

What was your big break? 

 

I’d say it was creating Wigstock, the drag festival that ran for 20 years and became the subject of the documentary Wigstock: The Movie. And younger people know me from Drag U or my YouTube videos. 

 

And why did you create Wigstock? 

 

I had just moved to New York City from Atlanta—where the drag was spectacular but very traditional and pageant-oriented. I’d never seen anything like the funky, original drag in NYC—there were queens fronting bands singing live, performing in dance troupes and in plays they’d written. I was only in my early twenties but I knew that these girls could entertain a larger audience in the park across the street. I’d always put on silly shows as a kid with a sheet stretched between two trees with the neighborhood brats—so “Let’s put on a show!” has always been in my blood.

 

What is your opinion on the recent uproars about Slurs towards the community...Why do you think in 2014 it’s still a problem now? 

 

First of all, “tranny” is not a slur in my book. It is an abbreviation for both transvestites and transsexuals and I will use it freely in the same way that blacks can use the “n” word. I can understand how “shemale” could be considered more of a slur, but I find the idea of banning words to be silly. If you choose to be openly gay, a drag queen, a transsexual or even a straight guy who has tattoos on his face, you’re going to get crap from people. But you must have the strength to ignore them because you’ll never be able to silence them. Even if you are able to silence them, you still won’t change the way they feel about you. And some of us are comedians like Joan Rivers and Bianca Del Rio who use language that offends some people. If you’re that easily offended, watch a performer who doesn’t offend you. But don’t try to take away our right to express ourselves. In a country that values free speech, you don’t have the right to silence those you don’t like because you perceive their words as slurs. I’m sick of the word police. And GLAAD has gone overboard. GLAAD’s director recently had to step down after taking bribes from AT&T—now this organization is going to tell me about correct behavior? 

 

To me, militant trans people who have insisted that certain words be banned are creating transphobia within the gay community—the very community that’s been the most accepting of them. As someone close to many trans women, this is a very sad, new rift. These militants have also attacked other trans women like Calpernia Addams who have dared to have a different opinion. They called her a drag queen—which is hate speech to use towards a post-op transsexual. I accept every color in the rainbow, but I’m a trash-talking drag queen and you’re going to have to accept that we are all part of this community. Instead of silly word games, let’s band together to fight the real enemies: those who seek to destroy the equal rights of gay and trans. If you think that RuPaul is an enemy of the trans community because he makes a few jokes, I think you’re mistaken. There are national organizations who actively seek to discredit gays and stop our progress, and we all give them our money every day when we pick certain cell phone carriers, restaurant chains and clothing stores who donate to anti-gay groups. Or let’s be real: Republicans. And if you’re looking for validation from a reality show—the silliest type of TV ever—you’re foolish. Are real housewives anything like the wig-snatching, fist-fighting, cocktails-at-lunch-drinking harpies on Bravo? My momma and sister are wonderful housewives who picked their kids up from school and cooked. Reality TV isn’t real. Do you really expect only feel-good language from entertainment which thrives on backstabbing, controversy, no-holds-barred competition and tears? 

 

Is your hair full of secrets? 

 

No, just lice and scabies! Actually, one secret is that RuPaul turned me on to this silicone medical adhesive to glue your wig on. He didn’t tell me you needed a remover to get it off so I pulled out some of my own hairline! I had a reverse widow’s peak for a year and people would give me the strangest looks. Ru sabotaged me! (I’m kidding!) 

 

After everything you have done, what do you think is your greatest accomplishment? And a downfall? 

 

I’m most famous for Wigstock, but that ended years ago and I don’t ever want to rest on my laurels and stagnate. Since then, I’ve focused on developing my comedy act and djing. And I think I’ve brought a lot of laughter and hopefully great music to a lot of people all over the world. My downfall would be lacking discipline and my procrastination. 

 

What’s next for Miss Lady Bunny? 

 

We recreated Wigstock for a scene in a movie called My Dead Boyfriend, in which I have a scene with Heather Graham. I’m currently in a new 1 & 1/2 woman show called Clowns Syndrome in NYC. And I’m performing everywhere from London to Kalamazoo this summer, at the end of which I’ll be performing and dying in Provincetown for the month of August. 

 

What’s left on your bucket list? 

 

Not many people know it, but I write and record dance music. Last summer, I had a #17 hit on the Billboard Dance chart called “Take Me Up High”, so I’m working on a follow-up. I’ve always gone where the music takes me, and I’m still loving it. But sometimes the music is telling me to turn it off and write a book. As you can tell from my answers, I’m much too long-winded for twitter!

 

 

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