Marti Cummings, the NYC Queen Running for City Council, on the Intersectionality of Pride and the Political
For so many people, even many in the LGBTQ community, Pride and activism is a performative thing. Just like the corporations who roll out the rainbows for Pride month and stow them away again come July, many queer people are all talk, “fighting the good fight” when it’s convenient to do so. And then there’s Marti Cummings.
A fixture in the NYC nightlife scene for more than a decade, Marti Cummings is a queen with a purpose. A nonbinary drag artist, they’ve used their platform for years to draw attention to the issues facing the LGBTQ community. And now that platform is bigger than ever, as Marti Cummings is currently running for the City Council District 7 seat in Manhattan. Cummings is the first nonbinary candidate to run for the City Council, has received the lion’s share of progressive endorsements in their City Council race, and has even outpaced the other candidates in terms of fundraising!
Everything Marti Cummings does furthers a mission of amplifying underrepresented voices, and of bringing more LGBTQ voices to the table for the conversations that matter — not just during Pride Month each year but all year long.
Hornet sat down with Marti Cummings to discuss their very first Pride celebration, Pride’s personal significance and how Pride, the political and drag artistry all intersect:
HORNET: Do you remember your very first Pride celebration?
MARTI CUMMINGS: In 2005 I moved to New York City at the age of 17, two weeks after graduating from high school. The weekend after I moved to the city happened to be Pride weekend, and I had never before been to a Pride parade or been around that many other queer people. I was mesmerized and in extreme awe at the incredible beauty of our community.
I will never forget running around NYC that day feeling so free! It was such a magical experience. Over the years Pride has meant different things to me. From that very first experience to last year when we took to the streets standing up for Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives to then have the police pepper-spray and beat people by Washington Square Park shows that we have a long way to go. None of us are equal until we are all equal.
Since that first celebration, how has the meaning and significance of Pride changed for you personally?
Pride was born out of a riot against police brutality and bigotry, and we must continue that fight as trans Black people continue to be killed and legislative bodies across the country are introducing anti-trans laws. We must fight for liberation for all queer LGBTQIA people.
How would you say drag has influenced the meaning of Pride for you, during Pride Month and all year long?
Drag has taught me so much over the years, and one of the most important lessons is that drag is political.
You’re a candidate for NY City Council. How does Pride tie into the political for you personally?
I am proud to be a queer nonbinary drag artist fighting for equity, equality and justice. Drag and politics are intersectional.
What are your plans for Pride Month 2021?
The primary election!
Any parting words wishing the LGBTQ community a Happy Pride 2021?
Spread Love and keep fighting!