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Festival Centers On Queer And Transgender Artists Of Color

Kelly Strayhorn Theater
The annual event will feature a conversation about gentrification and equitable housing for queer and trans communities of color in Pittsburgh. Brooklyn-based Mariana Valencia, pictured here, will perform ALBUM.


Queer and transgender artists of color will be featured at the My People: Festival of the Arts at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty this week.

In its 11th iteration, the event features music, poetry and film by Pittsburgh-based artists and performers, as well as guest artists. 

Curator Adil Mansoor said he remembers how significant the festival was for him when he first moved to Pittsburgh from Chicago nearly ten years ago. The media he viewed and the people he met helped shape his experience living in the city.

“There’s something critical about seeing yourself in that way and being in community and knowing that I exist and there are other folks that have shared lived experiences,” Mansoor said. “It was such a part of what made Pittsburgh able to be home for me.”

This year’s series explores the concept of biological family and the roles members can play in building identity. Thursday’s “Finding Kin” program includes Pittsburgh-based drag artist Mahogany La PiranHa presenting short films and poetry, as well as performances by musicians and twin siblings Rose and Sara Savage. 

“There’s something about kinship and queerness that comes through this evening of artists and films that I think will make audience members leave and want to call someone they deeply love,” Mansoor said. 

Community organizers and activists will hold a talk on Saturday about how to make Pittsburgh more friendly for its queer and trans residents of color. It will include conversations about gentrification and equitable housing for queer and trans people.

A full list of events can be found here.