CITY LIFE
Seattle Drag Performer Aleksa Manila Takes Pride in Community'I’ve always believed drag is a platform.

Just by nature of dressing up out of the norm, you’re already making a statement. You’re already a rebel'
By Beau Iverson | PRINT EDITION | JUNE 2019

Image Credit: Hayley Young
QUEEN OF HEARTS: Community and LGBTQ advocate Aleksa Manila photographed in the Chinatown-International District at the Publix Hotel

Copyright 2000-2019. Photo credit: #GenderGems Shann Thomas 2019

In honor of October as Filipino-American History Month, the dynamic music duo, Sendai ERA collaborated with ALEKSA MANILA on this short video depicting immigrant roots and national pride from a FilipinX perspective.


“My journey to Seattle started in July 1995, just days after 4th of July celebrations. I had just turned 20, and so I was this wide-eyed brown boy excited to join my family in the US and was eager to be an "adult." As an immigrant FilipinX, my Philippine culture that includes both my ethnic background and religion, are very important to me. It's what makes up a big chunk of my identity. Because I migrated as a young adult, my childhood memories and much of my familial history is intact. And I feel proud that I am able to keep my brown identity in the forefront of who I am and what I do as a FilpinX-American and genderqueer person. A lot of the work I do (& not necessarily in my profession only) is centered on ethnic pride - be it with Pride ASIA, the Filipino Community Center, Legendary Children, UTOPIA or mainstream spaces where I'm reminded of being a minority, I get to join forces with other proud POCs to celebrate our diversity. I chose the Filipino Community Center for various reasons - primarily, it's the place where I was crowned as Miss Gay Filipino in 2001, my very first drag pageant where I won every category except for Miss Congeniality (insert laughter here). And beyond that, it's become a symbol of community for me - "bayanihan."


#FAHM #FilipinoAmericanHistoryMonth


"Aleksa deploys humor and wit while challenging our biases

and raising awareness around the important issue of addiction,

which affects the LGBTQ community at a disproportionate rate."

- Mayor Jenny Durkan, 2018 Mayor's Pride Awards


"Aleksa taught me that you don't need a mask and a cape to be a super hero,
​although you might need some lipstick and mascara."

- Dr. Chong-suk Han, Author

Geisha of a Different Kind - Race and Sexuality in Gaysian America