COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A heavy overnight snow — the first of the year for Colorado Springs — blanketed the city, canceling Sunday services and keeping many morning churchgoers tucked in their beds. Yet the Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church (PPMCC) remained open, and as plows pushed snow piles on the chilly streets outside, a warm energy could be felt — and heard — from within the understated, rectangular building.
Drag, Donations, and Donuts: Sunday Brunch at the Pikes Peak
The Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church hosted a drag brunch fundraiser featuring per
Inside the church, Tiara Latrice, Resurrection Kasidy, Fenix Trylz, and Lamb Sandwich, among others, performed in drag for an audience in support of those affected by the Club Q shooting last year.
“This is the first time we’ve done a drag brunch since I’ve been here,” said Reverend Alycia Erickson, the lead pastor at the PPMCC. “The drag community, entertainers, [and] performers have really been affected in our area since the Club Q shooting last year… so we wanted to offer a safe place where they could come [and] perform…”
The PPMCC’s Drag Brunch included a large breakfast spread of pastries, sandwiches, and desserts. The $15 entrance fee to enjoy the food and the show went to Bread and Roses, a local social justice legal center that played a central supportive role for drag performers following the Club Q nightclub shooting last November. The firm helped raise money for victims and their families while offering legal advocacy as well.
While a volunteer chef sizzled bacon in the back kitchen, drag performers of all ages entertained cheering spectators. The two-set show lasted more than four hours, with many performers taking the stage twice after doing quick, full dress changes, from wig to high heel.
“We’ve got to give you your money’s worth, right?” said Tiara Latrice to the crowd.
Latrice opened in a flowery white dress and pearls; she finished in an elegant purple gown highlighted by a short, blond wig.
Latrice has been performing drag for more than 20 years. “I didn’t even know that there was a possibility of doing drag, or of being trans,” she said. After watching some friends perform, she decided to give it a try. “I entered a talent show and won the very first time. And then I was hooked.”
Latrice owns and operates Tiara Latrice Productions LLC, which has allowed her to produce a number of shows, including this and other drag brunches, as well as foster up-and-coming talent in the state.
“I learn as much from them as they do from me,” said Latrice. “They don’t need us, but I’m excited to pass on what I know and help those who are coming next.”
The next generation of Colorado Springs drag performers include youth performers “Resurrection Kasidy” and “Lamb Sandwich,” as well as 10-year-old “Fenix Trylz”. Resurrection Kasidy, 12, who uses they/them pronouns, has been performing in drag for more than four years. They wore a dress of flames and a fiery red wig to match.
Lamb Sandwich, who uses he/him pronouns, is newer to performing and only started a couple of months ago.
Resurrection Kassidy poses in skyscraper-high heels while performing to Poppy’s “Am I a Girl?”
Photo: Chase McCleary, Rocky Mountain PBS
In their short career, Resurrection Kasidy has already performed across the city, including appearing as a regular performer in the Club Q youth brunch. A brunch show was on the schedule shortly after the shooting.
“I was going to perform as Jessica Rabbit. I actually got this wig for it,” said Kasidy, puffing their bright red hair. “But that morning, my parents walked into my room and said, ‘Club Q is not happening.’”
Latrice even more narrowly escaped the violence, and it was not her first near miss. She was planning on attending a show at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, though ended up staying at home and missing the show after, “participating in some extracurriculars.”
“I say it was the time that weed saved my life,” said Latrice.
She later moved from Orlando to Colorado where she began making a name for herself in clubs from Denver to Colorado Springs. A friend of hers was performing at Club Q in November, and Latrice had planned on visiting. However, after a home dialysis treatment sent her to bed sick, she once again avoided gunfire.
“I don’t go out a lot anymore after my shows,” said Latrice, “because I worry that if it happens a third time, my luck might run out. It’s probably not a good way to go through life, but that’s my reality,” she said.
Yet despite the attacks, Latrice has seen a newfound unity emerge in the Colorado Springs drag and larger LGBTQ+ community. She continued performing shortly after Club Q with the firm belief that, if she quit, it would be letting both the Pulse and Club Q nightclub attackers win.
Reverend Erickson took a similar approach to the church’s critics. “Colorado Springs is in transition,” said Erickson. “We do have times when we get negative feedback…people who believe we’re sending a wrong message, and I’m very firm in our message that everyone is welcome here. And we won’t change our message just because some people disagree with us.”
Rev. Alycia Erickson applauds a performance by Miss Connie.
Photo: Chase McCleary, Rocky Mountain PBS
As a queer woman who grew up in the church, Erickson experienced first hand the limits that are sometimes placed upon the LGBTQ+ community. Since its founding in 1979, the PPMCC has provided an outlet for pastors like Erickson to establish what they call a more “affirming” religious environment in the city.
“We were actively involved in the AIDS crisis in the 80’s,” said Erickson. “From the beginning, we have been ordaining gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex people. We also have been doing same sex weddings from the beginning.”
The PPMCC is hoping to host another drag brunch early next year.
Resurrection Kasidy has their eyes on even bigger stages.
“In the future, I really want to go on tour with, like, backup dancers, and backup dancers behind those backup dancers, giant wigs, feather boas. I really am excited to see what drag holds for me in the future,” they said.
As for Lamb Sandwich, he is expecting to take a slightly different route.
“I do love drag, but I would probably want to do the sciences more. Marine biology, prehistoric invertebrates,” he said. Regardless, he still plans on continuing to perform. “It’s more of an art to me, so I think it would be a really good way to express myself even if I don’t want to do it full time as a career.”
Latrice has a number of performances scheduled through the rest of the year, and she emphasized her commitment to helping the next generation of drag.
“If you’re interested in getting started, I would definitely suggest you try to get linked up with some of our meetup groups. There are all types of resources on Facebook and Instagram. But the most important thing is that you know that you have a family with all of us and we’re here for you.”
Club Q, which is planning on re-opening in the near future, will be holding a “One Year Remembrance” ceremony on November 19 at noon.
Chase McCleary is a multimedia journalist in Rocky Mountain PBS. firstname.lastname@example.org.