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Drag Race Queens: Pete Buttigieg Is Making 'Herstory'

Drag Race Queens: Pete Buttigieg Is Making 'Herstory'

Drag Race

The gay presidential candidate had a few fans, including Brooke Lynn Hytes and Akeria C. Davenport, when he appeared at his first West Hollywood gay bar.


Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg drew yet another packed crowd Thursday when he appeared at the Abbey.

"Tell them you saw ... a top-tier presidential candidate on his way to the White House moments after his husband introduced him," Buttigieg told the audience at the sold-out fundraiser, which marked his first campaign event at a gay bar in West Hollywood.

The gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., then embraced and kissed his husband, Chasten, onstage to the cheers of his supporters.

When Buttigieg previously visited the West Coast LGBTQ capital in March, he held a town hall not at a gay bar, but at Bar Lubitsch, a Russian-themed establishment. There, he discussed aspects of his gay identity with The Advocate -- and said he was not a fan of RuPaul's Drag Race.

"I've seen it. I can't say that I watch it very often," the 37-year-old politician admitted to The Advocate after the March town hall. "That's something Chasten would be more attuned to than I would."

While Buttigieg may not watch Drag Race, the contestants have been watching him. A'keria Chanel Davenport, a contestant on season 11, stopped by the Abbey Thursday to catch a glimpse of Buttigieg before going next door to Sur Lounge, where she and several other drag performers were hosting promotional events for an aptly named new film, The Hustle, starring Drag Race superfan Anne Hathaway.

"I think it's amazing. It's a milestone," Davenport said of Buttigieg's candidacy. "We've had a black president, why not a homosexual president, someone that represents me as a person? I'm on Drag Race season 11, and that's huge. But what he's doing is huge and will go down in history -- or as RuPaul would say, herstory."

"I'm so happy I'm actually living and breathing to see him possibly make history, and I hope I'm a part of that," Davenport added.

Brooke Lynn Hytes, another front-runner on season 11, was holding court in Pump -- a restaurant owned by reality star Lisa Vanderpump that abuts the Abbey. The French-Canadian performer also expressed enthusiasm for the gay Hoosier.

"I absolutely support him. I don't know a lot about him, but he definitely sounds very intelligent and he's very well-spoken, and I like that he doesn't let people get under his skin," said Hytes. "And I think he'd be a great representative for everybody, really. It seems like he's interested in representing everybody, not just the LGBTQ community."

Down the street at the gay bar Micky's, Rhea Litre, a drag performer who is not (yet) on Drag Race but is a fixture of the WeHo scene, wished a political figure like Buttigieg -- who recently appeared on the cover of Time magazine -- had been around when she was younger.

"When I was growing up as a teenager who was terrified of his own sexuality, having a gay person running for president would have changed my life," said Litre. "I think he gets a little bit of short shrift from the idea that he's just another white man, because I think that erases what he means."

Given what drag has offered these performers, would they prefer that Buttigieg watch Drag Race? "I ... feel a little weird about policing people's queerness and telling them they should be into something because they're gay," said Litre. "I would say he should watch it because they're all incredibly talented, but if he doesn't want to, that's OK too."

However, he may be able to learn a thing or two from the queens in their own competition for a position of power. "He might learn how to politic a little bit," said Litre.

"It'll be a great stress reliever from the campaign," Hytes added. "Whenever he's on a plane and he's going to the next place, he should just pop on an episode of Drag Race and it'll just kind of relieve his stress and pressure and make him happy."

"We're making herstory, baby," concluded Davenport. "Let's make herstory together. Let me dress you up! I'll put a little makeup on you if you win."

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.