Manhattan drag artist and LGBTQ advocate Marti Gould Cummings is running for City Council in 2021, they announced on September 5.
Cummings, 32, is best known as a mainstay on the city’s drag scene, but they are aiming to make their biggest foray yet into the political world after having founded Hell’s Kitchen Democrats three years ago and landing positions on the mayor’s Nightlife Advisory Board and Manhattan Community Board 9.
Although Cummings previously lived in Hell’s Kitchen, they now live in Upper Manhattan and will run in Council District 7 for the seat currently occupied by Mark Levine, who is term-limited from seeking reelection. That district encompasses Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, and Hamilton Heights.
In a campaign launch video, Cummings touted some of their political credentials and vowed to serve as a voice for everyday New Yorkers.
“For over a decade, I’ve had the great opportunity to be a drag artist in New York City,” Cummings said. “It has been a great honor to use my platform as a performer to not only make people laugh and entertain them, but to advocate for issues that matter.”
They continued, “Activism and politics starts with you, the people on the local level. When I go into City Hall as your city councilmember, the voice I’m taking with me is your voice. This is somebody who’s gonna get things done for you. I’m going to listen to you and I’m going to work for you.”
The campaign’s website is short on details about Cummings’ political platform, but it’s early — the announcement notably comes nearly two years before the Democratic primary election in June of 2021.
Cummings, who grew up on a farm in Maryland and moved to the city at age 17, has also played a role in advocating for LGBTQ youth. They have worked with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which provides resources services to queer youth, and serves as on the board of the Ali Forney Center, which provides housing and other services to homeless LGBTQ youth across the five boroughs.
Cummings is vying to join the City Council at a time when queer representation there is hanging in the balance. All five of the out LGBTQ councilmembers are term-limited and will be leaving office in January 2021, which prompted a group of political leaders earlier this year to launch a candidate recruitment effort dubbed LGBTQ in 2021.
It does not appear that Cummings yet has any announced opponents at this early stage in the race.