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Capital City Pride

Drag queens honored at Olympia's annual gay pride festival

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Marlayna McBride and her entourage of drag queens from Jake's on 4th in Olympia have been asked to be grand marshals for this year's Capital City Pride.

"It is an absolute honor and privilege to have been asked to represent this prestigious title," McBride said. Miss McBride, aka Adam Geribaldi, lives in Tacoma but has become a gay Olympia icon. She takes part in Olympia's Pride Celebration every year, performing on stage, in the parade and behind the scenes, and she's been a judge for Pride Idol, which is held every year at The Urban Onion. "What a great time I've had with everything that I do. As an entertainer, I pride myself on absolute professionalism and take my audience and fan base very seriously."

Among her entourage are popular drag queens Deeva Devareaux (Geoff Lamb) and Flirticia Fondue (Troy Dazell) who will also be strutting their stuff at this year's Pride event.

Adam, the director of the shows at Jake's, has been doing drag "full on," to use his term, since 1996 when he was Mr. Gay Tacoma and performed in drag for the first time.

Deeva, also a Tacoma resident, says: "I think the idea of pride festival is great and it means that the community gets to see a positive side of the gay community and not the deviant asinine side that common overzealous religious activist would like to portray. I mean that we are just like the rest of society; we want the same things, like a family home and to be a responsible part of the community. We have fun and good moral values, we just happen to love the same sex and not the opposite sex."

Flirticia says being honored at the festival is "Surreal. (I'm) completely honored."

In addition to Pride events, Flirticia will "squeeze in" a requested performance at the Gayla in the Ballroom in the Olympia Hotel, to raise funds for HIV prevention, free anonymous HIV testing and services in Thurston County, and perform at Jake's that night.

"I can't help but flash back every year, to the first Pride I attended," Flirticia says, "when our public servants (teachers, military, firefighters, etc.) wore paper bags over their heads for fear of losing their jobs. Of course we've made some really big strides, including gay marriage, and I remain hopeful about the Supreme Court ruling in July. But, we still have much work to do in the area of HIV/AIDS in our community and the world.

"Attending the parade has always brought me a sense of belonging. I get to rejoice in our diversity - we can be some colorful folk. To have a day to express myself openly and freely, among numbers large enough to no longer feel like I am a minority, helps me to feel accepted, normal and ‘celebrate-able'."

The drag shows at Jake's take place the last Saturday of every month. There are 10 performers in the cast, including three drag kings. The shows feature a wide range of ages and styles. The youngest performer is 24 and the oldest is 60. They do country, rock, show tunes, rhythm and blues.

Marlayna, Deeva and Flirticia will be in the Pride parade "in face" and will perform on stage at Sylvester Park and again that night at Jake's. The festivities begin the night before, Friday, June 21, with a kickoff party at the Urban Onion. The parade down Capitol Way from the Capitol campus to Sylvester Park is Saturday, June 22, beginning at noon, and the festivities in the park with speeches, food and information booths, entertainment headlined by the Kim Archer Band and emceed by Gregory Conn, will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Conn and drag queen Kimber Lee will also be parade announcers from their booth atop the Governor's House Hotel.

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