It is not the easiest time to be a drag queen in the United States, but Pat Yo Weave – or Patricia Yolanda Weave – is standing tall this Pride Month. Pat, a former Miss Gay Indianapolis, is somewhat of an institution here, and she will be among the hosts of this year's Indy Pride Festival downtown at Military Park. Pat spoke with WFYI Morning Edition Host Ray Steele.
STEELE: Pat, welcome.
PAT YO WEAVE: Thank you so much for having me today.
STEELE: Patricia Yolanda Weave. First of all, where did the name come from, and where did the personality – the character – come from?
PAT: Pat Yo Weave or Patricia Yolanda Weave – either one of them works. For Facebook reasons, we say Patricia Yolanda Weave. When they were doing the thing of taking down people's Facebook pages, I lengthened it to Patricia Yolanda Weave so they would not take down my page.
STEELE: That was for Mark Zuckerberg, then.
PAT: Yeah, so it would look more authentic. But all my friends call me Pat Yo Weave. That's what I go by, so you can now call me Pat Yo Weave because you are one of my friends. Pat Yo Weave is my stage name I've had for almost 15 years now. And it started with ... we were carving pumpkins one Halloween, and we were getting ready for Halloween. We're sitting around at my friend Kyle's house, and my friend Kyle came up with the name, and it kind of just stuck. I absolutely love it and do not want to change my name. And there's one of Beyonce's songs, "Pat Yo Weave, Ladies." That's just what it is.
STEELE: Now, what is your act? What is your specialty?
PAT: I'm a big Lizzo fan, and I'm a big Missy Elliot fan. Those two numbers, you will find me doing and giving it my all.
STEELE: You're going to be one of the hosts of one of the stages at Pride Festival. You like being in the public view, it sounds like.
PAT: Yes, I get to host the main stage again this year. This will be my sixth year hosting the main stage. It's been an absolute joy and an absolute pleasure just to be out there spreading love and joy to somebody.
SHELLY SNIDER, INDY PRIDE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Pat is a treasure for us! Pat manages several events for us throughout the year, and has been doing that for many, many years now. She is an expert in the field of event planning in addition to her day job and her very busy social life.
STEELE: Pat, you talk about spreading love and joy, bringing love and joy to the audience. There are some people around the country who see you and other drag queens as doing something else, something sinister. To be clear, you're not doing ... drag queens are not doing that. But that cannot be settling right now when you go out and perform in public, whether it's at Pride Festival, whether it's at a regular gig at a bar. That's got to be in the back of your mind right now.
PAT: Absolutely. I end my shows the same way, and I always say, "I see you. I love you. I appreciate you and I accept you." I want people to see when they come to my shows that I see them for who they are, I love them for who they are, I appreciate them and I accept them for you they are. When I am on stage, the only thing I'm there to do is allow them to be in the space and allow them to be them for who they are. Drag is not a crime. Drag is not anything but a performance. It's an outlet. It's a way to allow people to just be themselves, and I want them to see that when I'm on stage.
STEELE: Pat Yo Weave, it's been a pleasure.
PAT: Thank you so much for having me today.
Pat Yo Weave is appearing on the main stage of the Indy Pride Festival, Saturday, June 11, at Military Park in downtown Indianapolis. Information is available at IndyPride.org.