College students in prom dresses and suits and ties packed The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls in celebration of the Be Gay [Do Prom] drag concert in Millvale on April 14. Miss Demeanor, a sophomore acting major at Point Park University, is the host and creator of the Be Gay [Do Crime] drag concert series.

selves logo with the word selves in black letters and three sets of blue lips in different facial expressions, pursed lips, open mouth screaming lips and closed pursed lips again

This story is a part of Selves, a newsletter about gender and identity by PublicSource.
Sign up today

The concert came just as a national push by conservative lawmakers to restrict drag reached Pennsylvania. Nine days earlier, state Rep. Aaron Bernstein, R-Lawrence and Butler counties, reached out to ask colleagues for support for a bill that would classify drag shows as “adult-oriented businesses,” thereby restricting where they can be held and who can attend.

The show’s organizers were motivated in part by the desire to give young adults a place and time to feel a sense of community — something that had been constrained since early 2020.

“Be Gay [Do Prom] was a fantastic opportunity to help recreate something I never got because of the COVID pandemic,” Demeanor said. 

According to drag performer Peter Pansy, Demeanor creates a welcoming, wholesome and safe environment for people under and over 21 to enjoy top-notch drag shows.

Peter Pansy performed wearing extravagant, alien-like makeup that covered his face all the way to his chest. “The overwhelming acceptance, respect and excitement everyone has for when I step out with my paint and my presentation is incredibly euphoric,” he reflected. “It just makes me feel like the creature person I wanna be.”

People in the crowd.