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Shangela/Instagram Shangela and Kamala Harris
The performer, whose out-of-drag name is D.J. Pierce, was the first person to walk the Oscars red carpet for his role in A Star Is Born — and that was only the beginning. Now, in another public display of LGBTQ+ representation, Pierce can say he's the first person to attend an event at the residence of the vice president while in drag.
Vice President Kamala Harris invited Pierce to speak as Shangela on Tuesday evening at a Pride Month event she hosted at her home, also known as Number One Observatory Circle. According to Pierce, the evening itself marked the first time a VP has hosted a Pride event at the residence.
On Wednesday morning, Pierce posted on Instagram about the experience, writing, "I woke up today asking myself 'did that really just happen?' ... Thank you Madame @vp for being an authentic ally and for not only holding this LGBTQ event at ur residence, but for also inviting me to make a few welcoming remarks."
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"After laughing and sobbing on the phone with my Mom this morning, I took a sec to take this in. Me — the lil, country gay kid from Paris, TX just helped introduce the highest ranking female leader ever elected in our Country," Pierce continued. "And I did it standing in my Truth. Proudly representing my community. Here's to all the dreamers. I'm doing it, and so can YOU."
This isn't the first time Harris has shown support to the drag community and LGBTQ+ community at large in the weeks since right-wing lawmakers began proposing legislation that targets drag performers, characterizing the profession as a form of "grooming" toward young people.
Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff and Symone
On June 12 — the sixth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting — Harris appeared onstage at a Capitol Pride celebration with Drag Race season 13 winner Symone, where she delivered remarks about violence the queer community faces and addressed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping the nation.
"No one should fear going to a nightclub for fear that a terrorist might try to take them down," Harris said, referencing the Pulse shooting.
"No one should fear going to a Pride celebration because of a white supremacist," she said just a day after police arrested 31 people in Idaho for conspiracy to riot at a Coeur d'Alene Pride parade, CNN reported.
"No one should fear loving who they love," she added. "Our children in Texas and Florida should not fear who they are."
Harris continued, "Black and brown and women of color, transgender women, should not fear for their lives."
"We should not have to be dealing with 300 laws in states around our country that are attacking our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters," she added.
Toward the end of her remarks, she concluded with a look toward the future: "So, we know what we stand for and therefore we know what we will fight for."
In 2020, the Human Rights Campaign applauded the selection of Kamala Harris to be President Joe Biden's running mate.
"Senator Kamala Harris is nothing short of an exceptional choice for Vice President," said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign at the time.
In 2013, Harris officiated the first wedding between a same-sex couple following the lifting of California's ban on same-sex marriage, for the nuptials between Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, according to the HRC.
The organization called Harris one of "our community's strongest allies in Congress" noting that she earned "perfect 100 on every HRC Congressional Scorecard while serving in the U.S. Senate."
Last year, Harris became the first sitting vice president to march in a Pride event when she and her husband joined marchers for about a block, Slate reported at the time.