Kansas City

Oldest continuous drag club paves way for LGBTQ community – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2021-12-01 19:41:11 –

Portland, Oregon — Walter Cole was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He has never lived anywhere else, except for his two years in the army for the Korean War. But in his 91 years of life, he has seen a lot.

“I’m impersonating a woman. My stage name is Darcel XV,” Cole said.

He always loves theater. In 1969, Cole discovered his “alternate”.

“I am the Guinness World Record for the oldest drag queen in the world.”

Cole opened Darcel XV & Company 54 years ago. At that time, he recently came out as gay.

“It wasn’t a good time for the gay community, but we had it happy. We worked hard to make it OK for the world.”

He says he was relieved to see the changes in society.

“Oh, I can’t throw a cat down the street without getting a drag queen right now. They’re everywhere!” Cole said.

The club is a National Register of Historic Places and is the first LGBTQ business in Oregon to be a National Historic Site. Donnie Horn led the mission to add the club to the National Register. He has known Cole for years and is the executive director of the Live Theater Group in Portland. Triangle production..

“His club is the oldest in the United States, it’s the same place from start to finish, and we’ve found that Chicago has another club that has moved a couple of years,” says Horn. “I have begun to understand how much history we have lost or lost in the gay community. Therefore, we registered it as a National Register, worked with Oregon, and with the City of Portland. By working together, we are beginning to find ways to move forward. “

They opened the door to other LGBTQ nominations, respecting the legacy of drugs and celebrating how it evolved.

“Whatever you were in the club, you were still hiding,” Horn said. I am myself and I think there is a change. But keep in mind. There were a lot of people who came before you and cultivated all these fences to get to where we are today. “

Darcel has become a staple of the community. Cole says he and society have led a new era of love and acceptance and will not change the day of his life.

“You put on your makeup and your outfit, I’m Darcel,” Cole said. “A few years ago I said Darcel and Walter were far apart. They are now getting closer and closer.”

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