Each June, the streets of New York are transformed into a blitz of rainbow flags, bared skin, and joyous dancing. Never does New York City's annual Pride March fall shy of spectacular; crowds often pack in more than 2 million people to see the action and celebrate the spirit of Pride, one of radical inclusion.
Anyone is welcome to come as they are -- or, for some, as they love to be. The doyens of this day are the drag queens, for whom Pride can be the busiest (and most wonderful) time of the year. Case in point: One booker told me that the most sought-after performers might work five shows on a Pride weekend, crisscrossing the country for various events.
The influx of drag queens to stages and venues throughout the country during Pride month also has a gateway effect for aspiring drag queens wanting to celebrate and "get in heels and lip sync to Britney," as Queens-based drag queen Sutton Kyler Puckett recalled. The New York City-based queen, who performs with the name Heidi Haux, was forever changed by moving to New York at 18 years old, on Pride Weekend, no less. "I was still closeted," he said. "The overwhelming support and sheer quantity of pro-gay anything blew my mind."