Drag Race's Sasha Velour Is Bringing Queer History to Pride Weekend: 'It Feels Particularly Urgent'
Even though she’s lived in New York City for the past six years of her drag career, Sasha Velour didn’t go to the city’s iconic Pride March until just two years ago, when she won RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 and rode on the Logo TV float.
“I did not know how really empowering it is to be up on this moving vehicle, seeing queer people and allies everywhere you look,” Velour, 32, tells PEOPLE. “I feel like everyone needs to be up in drag, on top of a float, letting the wind blow through a cape, to really understand the magic of the pride parade.”
On Sunday, Velour returns to the parade on the Lyft float, performing her avant-garde collaborative show Nightgowns alongside other drag queens. It’s “the perfect way to celebrate” after three nights of full Nightgowns shows at the Abrons Arts Center, she says.
With the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which set off the contemporary fight for LGBTQ rights, it’s also an opportunity.
“It feels particularly urgent to call out the role of gender nonconforming and trans people in fighting for pride and the continued need for that,” says Velour, who identifies as genderqueer. “Pride has gotten to a scale where sometimes the action that’s needed gets lost.”
It shocked Velour that Lyft, which will turn its in-app car icons to pride colors for the weekend, endorsed the political message of the show and float.
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Velour also just finished a comic book history of the Stonewall riots, Three Dollar Riot, inspired by the event’s “resonances with today.” And regardless of what she’s working on, pride somehow plays a role.
“You can actually speak to anything about your experiences or your fantasies or your dreams or your fears on stage,” Velour says of Nightgowns. “Being able to have the space is really the ultimate reflection on pride.”