D, left, is pictured with Alaysies.
Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer, DJ, and collector of stories. He launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. You can follow People’s District on Twitter @PeoplesDistrict, and can read his previous columns here.
D – “I grew up in the metropolitan area, but this is my first drag race. I dragged my best friend, Alaysies, down here, because I was like, we have to go see this. I have always heard about how fabulous this event was and wanted to go and support the gay and lesbian community in this city.
“For me, I love what the gays stand for. They are all about acceptance and at times like this, flaunting how proud they are of who they are. I mean, out here, it is like watching a block full of celebrities. Doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight, the crowd treats all of the queens like goddesses. Being here shows me how much we are progressing as a city. I have always felt like D.C. is one of the top places in the world. The drag race lets me know how true that really is.”
Alaysies – “When D told me about the event, I was all excited, but didn’t really know what to expect. I grew up in the DMV, and know that there are certain areas in the city that are open to gays and some places that discriminate. I try and stay in the parts that are okay, but every so often, I need to venture into the parts that discriminate. It is very uncomfortable to me that there are places here where I can’t really be myself. In those areas, I will butch it up a little bit and you will hear me trying to sound tough. I’ll walk around with a swagger and say things like, don’t mess with me! But when I am around the queens, like right now, it’s all, like, Heeey girrrrl! I can act and dress as I want and just be myself. I love that.
Continues after the jump.
“To me, that is why these events are so important. They allow all of us to be ourselves and celebrate gay life in one of the most diverse settings I have seen in this city. For many of us, we spend so much of life trying to fight against who we really were. When I was younger, I felt very androgynous and wanted to wear women’s clothing to express that. I fought it for some time, but then just realized that it was a part of me. Now, I have a little mustache, but I am also wearing leggings and women’s shoes. That is just the way that I feel comfortable and natural. Some people may not understand it, but that is okay. I just want them to accept it.
“Being here makes me so happy, but I am only disappointed that I didn’t dress up as well. It will have to be next year.”
See more of Danny’s photos from the drag race here.