For a second year in a row, drag queens will sashay through the annual Mummers Day Parade on New Years Day — and this Jan. 1, for the first time, they will be joined by drag kings.
At a Dec. 17 press conference at the Mummers Museum in South Philadelphia, members of the LGBT “Miss Fancy” Brigade showcased the strides they have made in creating more of an LGBT presence in the Mummers Parade and announced details about 2014’s return.
The Mummers formally invited the LGBT drag group to march in the parade in 2013. Brittany Lynn and the Drag Mafia led the string bands up Broad Street to City Hall and later performed at the Convention Center, between the Fancy and Brigade acts.
This year, 11 drag queens and six drag kings were selected from a variety of drag contestants to perform.
All 17 will take part in leading the front portion of the parade and will perform at the A Stand along the parade route. The queens will also perform at the Convention Center again, said Lynn, portrayed by Ian Morrison, a former PGN editorial assistant.
“It shows how great the city can be that they are allowing the LGBT community to partake in this tradition and that they are willing to put us in front of the parade,” she said. “It is a higher honor. It is just great to work with the City Councilman [Mark Squilla] and get support from local government.”
The inclusion of the drag-king performers, Lynn added, shows a unity within both the drag and LGBT communities.
“This year, we insisted that the whole community is represented. It is not always about the drag queens,” Lynn said. “If we are a part of this community, then all our community can be represented as well. We are not ashamed of our own people. Drag kings take a step back from the limelight, but here in Philly, we all work together.”
Although Lynn will not be performing with the drag contingent, she will march with them.
Lynn said that, last year, the Mummers made the drag group feel welcomed in the event, and she anticipates the same will happen again.
“Feeling that love and support, it was thunderous,” Lynn said. “Everyone threw their kids at us and cops insisted on taking photos with us. Everybody couldn’t be more supportive.”
Having the LGBT acts participate with such support, Lynn said, sends a clear message both about and to the LGBT community.
“I think there has been so much going on in the Gayborhood that has been bad, that I think we need this, we need more support from the city. Maybe it will help that we are all here together. If they can accept us, it shows the city that we can come together.”