She’s a drag queen. She’s a stage performer. She’s an activist. She’s an icon. She’s Dee-Lovely. In the ‘90s, Miss Dee-Lovely gained notoriety from drag shows at Scooters. This larger-than-life persona took the stage, dressed to the hilt, lip-syncing dance hits to wild applause from an ever-growing fanbase.
When the prospect came to star in Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s live production of The Rocky Horror Show, it wasn’t long before Dee became something more. “When I decided to get out there with my persona, I was terrified,” she recalls. “I didn’t think I’d have the opportunities I’ve had.” Through leading roles in theater shows like Rocky Horror and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Dee continues to push drag and LGBTQ into the local mainstream, and the response has been so inviting that it’s led to several other stage enterprises (from Andy Warhol to Joni Mitchell). “I’m glad I’m at the point where I no longer have to lip-sync while standing on a bar getting dollars shoved down my padded bra,” she jokes.
But Dee is beyond an entertainer. Ever since her involvement in high school and college groups, Dee has been a heavily involved activist for the LGBTQ community. She’s been on the board for the LGBT Center, organized a candlelight vigil in Phoenix Park for National Coming Out Day, shed light on the teen suicide epidemic, and has changed countless lives. Eau Claire’s school district even asked her to help with their diversity training, and later asked her to represent the district at a conference in Madison. And, as always, she did so in drag. “This is my battle armor, and I wear it with pride,” she says. “And if there’s one kid out there who feels alone, and turns on the TV and sees somebody like me, they’re gonna see that they can be themselves in Eau Claire.”