“Leave the judging to the county fair, not the church.”
Whether at the fair or in the pew, Dylan Kearcher’s presence is one you won’t miss. You might catch his infectious laugh from across the room or connect with the sheer confidence that oozes out of him. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness Dylan doing what makes him feel most alive — performing as Roxi Manacoochi.
Roxi, Dylan’s drag persona and one hell of a live singer, made her debut when Dylan was in 7th grade and has been with him ever since. Roxi stands out from the crowd of drag performers because of her work connecting queer folks and the church.
Born to two worship leaders, Dylan spent much of his youth — sometimes as Roxi — in and around faith communities. However, when Dylan moved to the Twin Cities in his twenties he stopped going to church because he didn’t feel a connection between his community and his faith.
LGBTQ+ adults are, on the whole, less religious than the general public. About half (48%) say they have no religious affiliation, compared with 20% in the general public; this pattern holds among all age groups. LGBTQ+ adults who do have a religious affiliation generally attend worship services less frequently and attach less importance to religion in their lives than do religiously affiliated adults in the general public.
Also, a third (33%) of religiously affiliated queer adults say there is a conflict between their religious beliefs and their sexual orientation or gender identity.
That sentiment is even more prevalent among the general public. About three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants (74%) and a majority of all U.S. adults with a religious affiliation (55%) say homosexuality conflicts with their religious beliefs.
When Dylan finally moved back to Austin, MN, he realized that the church was a place where he could feel affirmed and welcomed. Now, Roxi is living and working in Austin, MN to show other queer folk that there is space for them in the community and the pew. She leads worship in local churches, performs at the town’s Pride celebration, and travels the country to show that even small-town Minnesota has drag talent to boot!
“All that it took was a conversation and accepting that I’m gay, I’m a drag queen, and I’m religious at the same time,” Roxi said. “If you’re experiencing it then someone else is experiencing it. There is not one person in this world who is going through something alone.”
If you are looking to connect with fellow queer people of faith, OutFront is hosting a happy hour at LUSH Lounge & Theater on Thursday, September 22.