Gilda Wabbit is a fiery force rising out of the Astoria, N.Y., drag scene. And what makes her shows (at local gay bars Icon and Albatross, among others) unique isn’t just her live singing or sexy pinup looks — but the messaging behind them. Between doing splits and belting out show tunes, Wabbit is educating her audiences about PrEP.
“I’m an amorous woman, if you catch my meaning,” quips the 25-year-old newlywed. “Sexual health treatment and prevention are very important to me. ... I also know many people in the community and think that outreach and education, combined with entertainment, is the best way to reach them.”
The Louisville, Ky., native tells The Advocate that the stigma of the “Truvada whore” label is “real and damaging. It is sex-negative, cruel, and discourages safer sex practices. I understand the fear... but my friends who [use PrEP] are tested more often and are more informed about their sexual health than any people I’ve met before.”
As for drag, the multitalented singer and musician says that she’s finally found her tribe. “I’ve wanted to be a performer all my life but never fit in just right,” says Wabbit. “When I saw my friend Sutton Lee Seymour performing at Barracuda one evening, I realized that drag took all of my skills and passions and wrapped it into one job.”
Wabbit hopes to bring a little edge back into the craft, which she insinuates has gotten a bit too commercial.
“This may ruffle some feathers, but drag doesn’t excite me anymore,” she admits. “Now that Channing Tatum can throw on a cheap wig and be praised for it on national TV, it’s lost some of its edge. However,” she pauses, “the people who choose to make drag their passion and life’s work excite me. … They are forging new paths. They are the revolution.”