Topeka Pride Shows Strong for Pride Week


Topeka Pride Week was just as fabulous as the community it represents. The week was full of representation, community, drag queens and most importantly, pride.

The week kicked off with a free showing of the hit, coming-out movie “Love, Simon” which was originally released in March of this year. This event was held in the Shawnee County Public Library. The movie is a funny, entertaining way to approach the serious topic of coming out. It appeals to LGBT teens, but also to those older members of the community. Coming out stories are way for LGBT people to connect with one another.

After the movies showing, they held a discussion panel with speakers who shared their own coming-out stories, both the good and the really bad. Coming out is one of the most daunting experiences for those that are gay, so having a panel discussion helped shed light on the issues facing LGBT youth who come out and are kicked out or mistreated by their families.

Many people in attendance were from the Topeka community and Washburn University. Benjamin Anderson, a junior theater major came to the screening with the on-campus club Queers & Allies.

“Hearing others coming-out stories was a great way for me to connect with the queer community in Topeka. Before this I had never really experienced the queer culture outside of campus,” Anderson said.

The next event in the lineup for Topeka Pride was the Annual Topeka Pride Drag Show on Friday, Sept. 14, held at Serendipity in the North Topeka art district. This event is for those 18 years and older and has been a long-time favorite with the Topeka LGBT community and allies of the community, especially since it caters to a more adult audience. For 10 dollars per person, the show consists of nine local drag performers who each perform three separate performances. This show is a way to celebrate queer culture while also giving back to the local queer performers.

A drag performance encompasses any person who dresses up as the opposite sex and performs a dance or skit for an audience. Not only were there several very talented local drag queens, but a couple drag kings graced the performance stage as well.

Performers included drag queens: Krysta Radiance, Valerie Love, Charla Monroe, Josie Price, Cynthia Doll, Lil’ Kim Chi, and host, Divinity Masters and drag kings Tee Rainbow and Ladies Man.

The next event was a bit more family friendly. Topeka Pride hosted a picnic a Lake Shawnee on Saturday, Sept. 15 from noon to 4 p.m. At this event they had free food, friendly competition, and local queer artists performing. They had lawn games like egg races and three-legged race and local vendors. From singing to poetry to hoop dancing, there was a wide range of talents showcased at this picnic. Aaron Uhlrig, a former Washburn student and current hoop dance instructor was a performer at the picnic. He showed off his hoop dancing skills and held a quick hoop lesson for the kids.

“I love to share hoop dancing with everyone. The queer community here in Topeka is so strong and I’m so happy to be a part of it,” said Uhlrig.

Other performers included poets Annette Hope Billings and RD Manes, and singers C Lashaun C, Boyde and duo Fox and Wills.

To end the week, Topeka Pride hosted an after party Saturday night at Serendipity. They had a DJ and karaoke. This event was a relaxing way to end an eventful week. It was a chance for the LGBT community to meet, bond and let loose by singing their favorite songs and dancing the night away.

Topeka Pride has always been a week of acceptance and love for the Topeka LGBT community. This year’s events brought the community together with entertainment and queer culture. Topeka Pride is all about love, like their slogan says, “Love is our superpower.”