Gilda Wabbit talks drag, privilege and life as a Queer Kentuckian

  1. What do you identify as? Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything?
    A genderfluid, polyamorous, pansexual, pagan drag queen! I identify as such partly because it’s cheeky to have such an amazing alliteration when describing yourself but, more seriously, because I have encompassed multiple truths at once throughout my entire life. I am a man and a woman and neither all at once. I am in love with and capable of loving many people of many different genders all at once. I can celebrate and honor many spiritual traditions all at once.
  2. What does the word Queer mean to you?
    Queer is sexuality and gender identity, yes, and the word queer to me encapsulates an idea that the personal is political. When I tell someone I’m queer, I hope to communicate how I interface with the world, not just who I sleep with or which bathroom I’d like to use. Not gay as in happy, but queer as in fuck you and the systems you rode in on.
  3. Where are you from and explain what it was like growing up/living in Kentucky?
    I was born in Fern Creek, grew up in the suburbs of Frankfort, and went to college in Lexington. Growing up in Kentucky meant I had access to some of the most beautiful landscapes nature had to offer, as well as some of the most diverse culture in the nation. Music, art, theatre, sports, climbing, horseback riding, swimming, all of it in my backyard.
  4. What would you say to anyone struggling to come into their own identity?
    Stay flexible and honest! The way I identify has changed over the course of my life, not because I was lying or didn’t know myself well, but because I was being as honest as I could with the knowledge that I had. I couldn’t articulate that I was genderfluid before I met other genderqueer people, so I assumed I was cis and everyone felt as weird about gender as I did. I wasn’t lying, I just didn’t have the knowledge to understand my whole truth.
  5. How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?
    Oh, it absolutely runs how I carry myself. And that goes back to my feeling that the word queer is the personal being politicized. If I were just “gay” I could sit back, get married, have 2.4 children, and a white picket fence and it would look like Leave It To Beaver but with two “boys”. But being queer and encompassing all these things at once means that, even if I do all those things, it’s not enough to be comfortable in that. I have to fight for the rights of my entire community to be exactly who they are, not to just fit into a nice palatable version of heteronormativity.
  6. What issues do you see in the queer community?
    An inability to communicate amongst ourselves. I live a large chunk of my professional life as a drag queen online and the constant in-fighting and refusal to have compassion for each other that is exacerbated by the internet blows my mind. Kentucky’s motto is “United we stand, divided we fall,” and I often worry that the queer community is too divided and I hope to help facilitate a world where we can work together to accomplish our goals.
  7. What do you think would solve those issues?
    Getting off our phones and out into the world. Organizing and communing and celebrating with each other in person. Technology is great and wonderful, but can anyone truly empathize with pixels on a screen? I hope to work on what that looks like to me over the course of the next year.
  8. Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?
    I don’t think I’m excluded at all, and that’s probably a function of my privilege as a white, middle class, cis-passing person. I can walk into most spaces and people wouldn’t question or stop me. Learning that other people don’t experience that freedom was shocking for me and totally changed the way I thought about the world.
  9. Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)
    I feel at my best when I’m on stage with a microphone in hand talking to the audience at my shows. That is when I get to show myself to people, to say, “This is who I am and you can feel this free and whole and confident too. It takes work, but we’re all in this together.”
  10. Who influenced the life you live now?
    My family most of all, who are lovely and kind and patient and warm. They have allowed me to explore myself and find my truth over the course of the last three decades and, while we didn’t always see eye to eye, I knew I was going to have my support system even if I challenged them. That is rare and beautiful and I hope they know how grateful I am every day.