by Jess Washington
Prism Health North Texas has partnered with Arttitude and Transgender Pride of Dallas to host the first inaugural TX Trans Pride event on September 30th at Station 4.
The free event will include entertainment in Station 4’s famed Rose Room, a resource fair with trans inclusive resources and services, free HIV and STI testing, and an Affirmation Station with free gender affirming items and products. To help bring more awareness to this celebratory moment, Dallas native and drag superstar Keri Colby from season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race will be in the building.
I got a chance to chat with Keri Colby on the many reasons why she wanted to partake in this historical celebration and what she hopes for the future.
So often when we hear stories in the media about the trans community, it is often coupled with negativity, trauma or sometimes a need for visibility. Dallas taking on the helm of being the first city with an official trans pride celebration is a monumental step towards progress, especially considering the state’s (old and current) history with LGBTQ legislation. Although Keri Colby left Texas for California at 18, she makes it clear that Texas’s position on trans rights has a huge effect on her and other members of the community. We southerners may often think of California as a “safer” space for those in the trans community, but Keri made it clear it was very hard for her and she saw others endure the same.
Visibility is increasing, especially in mainstream media with trans representation. And like everything in the entertainment industry, there are positive reactions and negative reactions that sometimes can lead to violence. We asked Keri if she feels the landscape is changing for the better and she too saw both sides.
“Of course, people are seeing more in our community on TV or in music, and it allows them to feel comfortable and want to support. But sometimes people may not know what they are seeing and instead of accepting what that and educating themselves, they choose to have a negative reaction… But that’s not just for the trans community, that applies to everything!”
Keri Colby mentions the power of education often during our chat. And we’re not talking academic education but more so from the “school of life”. Like we heard growing up, the more you know, the more you grow.
We switched lanes to dive into the Keri Colby America met during her time on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Within the first few seconds of her entrance, you know she was once of the fashion queens. And Keri was sure to claim that title whole heartily by wearing the iconic Versace dress Jennifer Lopez wore in 2000. Keri explained that fashion is very much a part of her identity. She is a Leo by definition. Anything bright, colorful and unapologetic is under Keri’s umbrella for fashion. We even saw this a few weeks ago when she attended this year’s Emmy Awards in a gorgeous August Getty Atelier dress.
If you ever meet Keri Colby, just know that she does not mince her words when describing herself or experiences. Her moniker is being “That B*TCH!” because she wants it to be known that she just that. Just recently in a study from the National Library of Medicine, reflects “data indicating that 82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth.” This reality is what makes Keri’s transparency and passion for life awe inspiring. The same person that had to leave the city of Dallas as a teenager because of her trans identity is now welcomed home and acknowledged for the star she is. “I need to make it so it’s not as hard for the next Keri Colby out there. I want to make it better than what it was when I got here” stated Colby.
Those in the trans community that shared similar experiences like her and made it in order to be in this place and time. I think we can all agree… THAT is definitely worth celebrating!
Organizations and individuals interested in sponsoring this event or donating to services may visit txtranspride.org/sponsor/ for more information.