Why Pissi Myles Sissyed That Walk to Trump’s Impeachment Hearing

"It was the coolest thing I think I've ever done."

Pissi Myles has had quite the 24 hours.

Joe D’Angio—a.k.a. Pissi Myles, a popular New Jersey-based drag queen—made a grand appearance yesterday in Washington, D.C., during day one of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings for Trump. Aside from the hearing itself, and the mildly interesting revelations therein, nothing was more top-of-mind than Myles’ queenly presence among the District of Columbia’s political elite.

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

In a sea of gray, brown, and navy suits typical to Capitol Hill, Myles (pictured above) stood out like a firetruck-red acrylic nail on a corrupt congressman’s hand. Reporting for Happs TV, a recently launched news media app and streaming platform, Myles was there to capture the events and drama of the day.

But in many ways, Myles was the drama of the day: “I had to call my dad just now,” Myles tells NewNowNext from the road on her way back home to Jersey. “He’s okay now, but my whole family is very shaken by the idea that I’m suddenly national news. But I think it’s an amazing thing!”

We caught up with Myles to chat with the brave queen about what it’s like to be one of our country’s most talked-about subjects… other than the impeachment itself.

Hi, Pissi! How are you feeling about all this sudden attention?

It really caught me and them by surprise. I don’t know if it’s just that I’ve been doing drag long enough that I’m jaded, but I did not expect it to be that big of a deal! But then I was like, Oh, right. You’re in drag. In Congress. That’s weird.

Well, in drag and in bright red latex.

I’m so glad I did it.

We’re all so glad you did it! Are you a political person by nature?

I’ve always been attracted to politics, especially as they pertain to the LGBTQ community. Probably in my mid-20s, I became much more interested in civics, the way the government works. I really encourage young people to be a part of the political system and vote! It’s the only way to make your voice heard. A lot of people think their vote doesn’t count, but it absolutely does. We saw in the last midterm election that it came down in some cases to a matter of a hundred votes.

Exactly. So how did you and Happs TV get connected?

Happ’s political director, Jack Bury, saw my show on Sunday and asked me if I was a political queen. And I said, “Abso-fucking-lutely.” So he asked if I wanted to come with him to the impeachment hearings. And I was like, “What?” And he just brought me down. It was the coolest thing I think I’ve ever done.

What effect do you think that your presence had on the people who were there?

My biggest hope—and something that I do think happened—is that I added a bit of levity to the situation. I don’t think people were expecting to see me there. My drag is all about making sure people realize we can’t take ourselves too seriously. Even in a situation as serious as the impeachment hearings, there needs to be something to kind of break the tension a bit. I saw it in the hallways all day, people going, “What the hell is that? Oh my God, it’s a drag queen! Wait, can I take a photo with you?” That was really amazing. I was not expecting that reaction. It gave me an opportunity to talk about the things I’m passionate about.

Santiago Felipe/FilmMagic

Very few of these elected officials are from our community. How do you feel about LGBTQ representation in these kind of spaces? Is that something you’re trying to provide?

It really didn’t dawn on me how significant it was that I was there in drag until I got out of my Uber, and there were, like, 20-something cameras outside, and they all at once—literally—focused on me. I said to myself, I have a real opportunity here and I’m going to take advantage of it.

Were there any other standout moments from the hearing?

Since I was casting directly from my phone the whole time for Happs, I had to keep recharging my phone. So I was kneeling on the floor in the hall—in heels and this tight dress, charging my phone from an outlet on the bottom of the wall—just trying not to snap my leg. This straight-laced staffer boy, probably an aid or an assistant, came walking by me, and as he did, he knelt down very close and very quickly snapped, then whispered, “Get em’, mama!” So that’s clearly something he doesn’t get to express openly here.

I think me being there gave people a little bit of freedom to feel like it was a safer space. There were also so many young people that came up to me, telling me how they just started a Gay-Straight Alliance in their school, or that they’re queer, or have queer friends. We’re seeing throughout the United States more LGBTQ representation, especially in local legislature and even in statewide legislature. It’s so important that queer people see themselves represented in our government, now more than ever.

What do you think of your appearance being the biggest news out of the hearings today aside from the hearing itself?

It’s almost disappointing that I was the most interesting thing today. You would hope that they’d have some really huge bombshell they were going to drop about Trump. But I was talking to my sister earlier, and she said, “You know, just remember that 30 years ago, you would not have even been let inside the building.” So that’s the perspective I’m going with!

What do you think will be the outcome of these proceedings?

Well, I would love it if the president was impeached, if he really went to trial and was removed from office.

Love to see it!

Sadly, especially with the way things are in the Senate—and especially with that little turtle, Mitch McConnell—I don’t think the Senate will vote out the president. But my hope is that all of this starts a conversation that irreversibly tarnishes his reputation, and changes the way voters approach the 2020 election. I hope that people will rise up and say, “No, we’re not doing this again.”

And are you planning on heading back to D.C. for more hearings?

Happs and I have already talked about some future dates. I unfortunately won’t be there on Friday for the second half of the hearing. But hopefully, there’ll be more queer representation at the one on Friday. Maybe somebody will be inspired by me, and they’ll show up in drag, too. I would really love that.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor whose work regularly appears in PAPER, Billboard, Civilized, and more. He is a former editor at Out magazine, as well as a social and political activist.
@alexblynn