Monthly Column

Tia Douglas: Drag 'is who I am'

Published October 24, 2014

Indeed drag has changed our world and the lives of many. Recently, I had a moment to sit down with Tia Douglas for my first column in qnotes. Tia is a local veteran of drag for over 20 years now. She started at the age of 18 or 19. You would never guess her age (from stage). We met at my favorite restaurant, Dish, of course. Thus the name of my monthly column!

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Macximus: Giving back and educating others

Published November 21, 2014

Born in 1968 in Orangeberg, S.C., Mac is a southern gentleman — lots of scruff and tattoos (grrrr). He’s a modern day Spartacus with a heart of gold to go along with it. On stage, he is better known as the drag king Macximus, or as he prefers “trans male performer.”

“The whole reason I do drag is to put myself out there for other trans men. Visibility is important, it puts a face to being trans,” he poignantly explains. “People come up to me and ask questions. I have been able to send four trans men to my doctor this past summer. Drag makes who I am more familiar. Plus, I like to sing live too.”

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Happy holidays from the Genderbread Person

Published December 19, 2014

It is Holi-DRAG time! The whole Queen City is buzzing. Jingle bells, Santa suits and lip-synching familiar songs of the season abound at your local drag hotspots. This month I wanted to give back in the spirit of the holiday by interviewing someone very special — “The Genderbread Person.”

No, it’s not a real person and it’s not a pastry. It is a cartoon graphic, a learning tool about gender. Quite adorable looking, actually, and if it’s dessert time, you may be hungry for more. For purposes of this interview, “The Genderbread Person” uses the pronouns “they, them, their.”

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Queen of Nice: Cierra Desiree Nichole

Published January 16, 2015

Some queens are just nice. Don’t tell anyone, but behind the make-up and glitter, there is a heart (sometimes). Cierra Desiree Nichole is one of those nice queens. Seemingly everyone loves her and, like Switzerland, you can find her remaining neutral in most any conflict.

We sat down at my gayborhood favorite spot, Plaza Midwood’s Dish, for some food and girl talk.

Cierra defines herself as a drag entertainer and her male persona Tony Land is a sharp contrast to her female impersonation. She was 21 when she started drag in 2000. It was a joke with friends who wanted to go out in drag one night. It wasn’t even Halloween, she recalls: “My friend OJ begged  me to do it. So we both got some stuff from Fifi Mahony’s, got two little outfits, and went out. One night turned into doing a talent show. I was the only one suckered into doing it.”

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The Virgin Goddess: Gypsy Starr

​Published February 13, 2015

As a child, Gypsy grew up on a farm in West Virginia and at an early age ran away from home to live with her aunt. “I always knew I was different … and I often would lie in bed and wish I would wake up a girl,” said Gypsy. “I always identified from a woman’s perspective and didn’t know anyone else like me growing up. My aunt understood me.”


I asked Gypsy when she first understood or heard about transgender people. “Phil Donahue, I think,” said Gypsy laughing. “Yeah, I had a TV down the hall from my room and there were three queens on Phil Donahue from the movie ‘Paris is Burning.’  I thought, oh my god, there are people like me in the world.”

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How Amber Rochelle Got the Glitter Bug and Discovered Her True Self

published April 10th, 2015

Yes, I’m back! Did you miss me? Don’t answer that question. Well as promised I have another fierce queen to tell you all about.  Her name is Amber Rochelle. Don’t be fooled by her calming voice and loving nature if you meet her though. This lady can light the stage on fire with a belly dance and ass shakin’.

Like many a queen, Amber in 1995 first got the glitter bug on Halloween. She was all done up for the High Holiday and went to party with the ladies at Oleen’s Lounge. The legendary queen Kasey King, who worked there back in the day, discovered Amber that night. “Kasey could not get my name right. But she noticed me and asked me to come back and do a talent show.” Before Amber could press on a nail or bat an eyelash, she was competing and actually won her first title as Charlotte’s New Entertainer at Oleen’s. Shortly after, she was also asked to start working at Scorpio, too.

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