Updated September 14, 2023 - 7:54 pm
You might not find it on his official bio, but Carson Kressley was once a performer in a Strip production show.
We have to dig a bit to recall the details. But we get there.
“Dancing With the Stars Live!” Kressley conjures during a recent phone chat. “At the Tropicana. Yes, I was in that show.”
That was 11 years ago, or so, as Kressley tapped into his popularity on the “DWTS” ABC series. Today the original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” cast member is a judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and remains an advocate for LGBTQ+ causes.
Thursday night, Kressley is being honored with the 2023 Equality Visibility Award at the Silver State Equality Award at the Palms’ Kaos Nightclub. More than 400 More than 400 LGBTQ+ community, business, political leaders and supporters are expected to attend.
Assemblywoman Sarah Peters, D-Reno, is to receive the 2023 Equality Leadership Award. Sy Bernabei, social justice advocate and former executive director of Gender Justice Nevada, will receive the Community Leadership Award.
Kressley has been at the fore of LGBTQ+ culture for two decades. “Queer Eye” premiered in July 2003. He says the fight for causes close to his heart continues, and is even more challenging today than 20-25 years ago.
“I think our community has worked so hard for things like marriage equality, and adoption rights, among other rights, that anytime there is homophobic sentiment out there, we just need to be very, very vigilant,” Kressley says. “We’ve been seeing lawmakers proposing drag bans and anti-trans laws, so we need to be always working on strategies to fight back.”
Kressley agrees his position is to be a lightening rod for attention for these causes.
“I don’t do more than anybody else in our community should. I’m just being myself,” the 53-year-old pop-culture icon says. “I support various causes that are near and dear to me, whether it’s HIV and AIDS research and awareness or LGBTQ youth homelessness, all the things we’ve worked on. But I’m not out there, 24 hours a day, as my profession.
“I say that out of respect to those who are, because there are so many people doing such great work out there that we so desperately need.”
Kressley has seen “RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!” at Flamingo twice. The show is a hit, the queen of the class for Vegas drag productions.
“Vegas is always such a great place for live entertainment, and you get wonderful audiences that are ready to have a great time,” Kressley says. “I think when people are in Vegas, they’re there to celebrate, to have a fun party. And I think that’s what we all want.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.