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From hosting RuPaul’s Drag Race queens to advocating for an inclusive city A conversation with Adam and Steve one year later

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Photos by Matty Flader / Photo Reporter

Exactly one year ago, I wrote an article on the minds behind HashtagAdamandSteve, Adam George and Steven Hilliard. Over this year, I have had the pleasure to hang out with the duo at their various events across the city. From Taco Belles at The Mule to hosting RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants at Absinthe, you’re always guaranteed a good time at an Adam and Steve event.

Within the past year, George and Hilliard have gone from planning two queer-focused events per month in Hamilton, to five or six events per month. One of their key events have included a show with Thorgy Thor in February 2019, marking the first Ru-girl within the city; the fourth annual Drag Wars; the first Hamilton Pride party at Absinthe; and the first all-Hamilton drag showcase, Hamilton Is A Drag.

“When we first sat down with [the Silhouette], we were bringing really awesome friends of ours from Toronto that were drag performers because there really wasn’t any that were well known in Hamilton . . . and now there is,” said Hilliard. 

The rise in popularity for Hamilton-based drag was a big deal for the pair. Their events provide opportunities for local Hamilton drag kings and queens to perform within their own city, instead of having to travel elsewhere to find a gig. 

Although my previous article referred to George and Hilliard as queer event planners, the duo hasn’t used this term for a while. 

“I feel like as we’ve grown, we take [advocacy] more seriously in knowing that we have a responsibility to do it right,” said George.

George and Hilliard have turned their focus towards filling Hamilton with safer spaces for the queer community. 

“For a long time, the idea of a safe space was like a bad word to some people. They thought going to a safe space was them hiding away from other people. I don’t think it feels like that anymore, because people are realizing that those spaces can exist and still be fun, open and not isolated,” said Hilliard.

Hilliard went on to explain that many of the city’s bars are opening up to the idea of becoming safe, queer-positive spaces. George and Hilliard did not expect this reaction from local businesses.They recalled a time when it was hard to get owners to host their queer events. Now they’ve partnered with approximately seven spaces across Hamilton including Absinthe, The Mule, and Arcade, to name a few.

This change in focus led the duo to remove  “event planning/party specialists” from their logo, as they felt those words did not fit their mission any longer. 

“Adam and Steve, I think as a concept, has evolved a bit more because we’re not just doing parties. Now, we’re part of the City of Hamilton,” said George.

George and Hilliard have partnered with Tourism Hamilton to sell their “Keeping Hamilton Queer” shirts with proceeds going to the Hamilton Aids Network. The pair believe that it is important to give back to the queer community, especially since they hold a highly regarded platform not just within the community, but also in the greater Hamilton area. 

They also were asked to speak at a training event for city staff in which George, Hilliard and others who formed a diversity panel, discussed how to make Hamilton a more inclusive city. George and Hilliard recognize that they do not speak for the entire queer community, but due to the platform they have ammased, they want to raise up other people’s voices. 

“As soon as we were asked [to speak at the event] we said very clearly to the organizer that we just wanted to be clear that we don’t speak for the entire community. We’re just one perspective and one voice in a very large [community] with our own experience. We would never pretend to [speak for them] because everyone has a different lived experience,” said Hilliard.

“As soon as we were asked [to speak at the event] we said very clearly to the organizer that we just wanted to be clear that we don’t speak for the entire community. We’re just one perspective and one voice in a very large [community] with our own experience. We would never pretend to [speak for them] because everyone has a different lived experience,” said Hilliard.

The future is bright for George and Hilliard. Due to the number of events they host, they have decided to change their name from HashtagAdamandSteve to the House of Adam and Steve. In addition, they plan to launch a new website to make learning about the Hamilton drag scene more accessible. The duo will also be hosting events in direct partnership with Tourism Hamilton. 

On a more familiar note, George and Hilliard will be hosting their next Ru-girl, Detox, on March 7 at Absinthe, and will be  starting their newest series, Dirty Drag Bingo with Karma Kameleon at Odds Bar (164 James St. South).

“Our parties might not be for everyone, but the point is that they’re for anyone,” said George.

The door to the House of Adam and Steve is now open for all those who are looking for a home.

 

This article is part of our Sex and the Steel City, our annual sex-positive issue. Click here to read more content from the special issue.

 

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Author: Andrew Mrozowski

Andrew is in his third year of Political Science. He enjoys stressing himself out for no good reason! When he’s not writing or editing, he can be found working at Starbucks or performing at a gig.