Wigged Out

While she’s no stranger to Nashville, this year marks the first time actress/comedienne Lady Bunny has hosted Nashville Pride’s festivities, and it’s an obligation she takes very seriously.

Well, seriously for her, anyway.

“I’m excited, I’m thrilled and I can’t wait to work with Deborah Cox,” she says. “You all know how gay men love their Cox.”

A trip below the Mason-Dixon is nothing unusual for the longtime New Yorker. The Chattanooga native spent her formative years, performance-wise, in Atlanta. Back in the mid-1980s she worked with another up-and-comer by the name of Ru Paul, whom she refers to has her drag mother.

“Ru was my roommate in Atlanta, and we’ve stayed in touch over the years,” she says. “We have a duet on his new album, which I co-wrote, and that was a lot of fun. I learned everything I know about drag from hanging out with him and working in the clubs in Atlanta.”

Soon the Big Apple beckoned, and with it the chance to help create one of the city’s best known annual festivals, Wigstock. And while the wigs have been packed away for a couple of years now for various reasons, the potential for a 25th anniversary extravaganza next year has generated some early buzz.

“A 20-year run in New York City isn’t bad, but it was an outdoor event and we were just punished by torrential rain for two years in a row,” she recalled. “Nobody wants to see a soggy drag queen. But we haven’t ‘curled up and dyed,’ and we may yet do something for the anniversary.”

In the meantime, there are plenty of other bookings around the country to keep her busy, not to mention staying on top of the political scene. It’s that changing landscape that makes events such as Nashville Pride mean more now than ever, she says.

“In the large cities everyone tends to segregate into their own group, but in a place like Nashville the community really comes together, and that’s evident at something like Nashville Pride,” she says. “That’s so important now because we really have to show the diversity of our community.

“We’re often given this image of the white, male, beautiful boy, and we don’t all look like that,” she continued. “That all falls apart at gay-pride festivals. It’s there that you can see how diverse our community really is, and we need to embrace that and start pulling together.”

Recent decisions by courts and legislatures in Iowa and Maine to legalize same-sex marriage bring new urgency to the GLBT community’s various causes, but that doesn’t mean pride events can’t be fun as well, she’s quick to point out.

“We are at a crucial point where we’re starting to attain some of our long-held goals, but we need to get together more often, have more pride events and other large-scale festivals,” she says. “Many of our adversaries meet every Sunday, and if we just do this once a year then the odds against us are 52-1; we’ve got to do the work, and hopefully we can start doing it at pride events. Things are happening, but we have to stay on top of them.”

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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