Over Quarantine, Drag Queen and internet personality Trixie Mattel bought Milwaukee’s oldest gay bar to prevent the business from going under with the lack of in person business. “This Is It!” has been a staple of the gay community in Wisconsin since 1968, hosting Drag Queens for the last 53 years. Being a Wisconsin-born Drag icon, Mattel saw the opportunity to give back to the gay community that helped her launch her world renowned career and seized it. She became a part-time owner and financially supported the business throughout the pandemic. Now, as vaccinations continue to roll out and summer 2021 fast approaches, “This Is It!” (lovingly referred to as “Tits!”) has once again opened its doors.
Trixie Mattel, alternately known as Brian Firkus, has made a name for herself after appearing on season seven of “RuPauls’ Drag Race” and season three of the “All Stars” series. Mattel has a series on YouTube called “UNHhhh” as well as an MTV series that features herself alongside her illustrious co-star Katya Zamolodchikova, with the Youtube series now entering its seventh season. Mattel also has a new channel on Youtube where she posts free, fully-edited and well-shot videos on a regular basis, including collaborations with internet personalities such as Sarah Schauer and Brittany Broski.
Unsurprisingly, Mattel has had the revenue to support “This Is It!” through this pandemic, even helping with cosmetic touch ups like painting the outdoor seating area’s wooden fence rainbow and posting the newly redesigned outside onto her Instagram with millions of followers world-wide. Mattel has been a patron of “Tits!” long before she became a world renowned Drag Queen – since before she had even become comfortable enough with her queer identity to dabble in Drag itself. It was the confidence and community that “Tits!” fostered that helped Trixie Mattel become Trixie Mattel. Without the support of the oldest running gay bar in Wisconsin, the world may have never felt her impact, and the star recognizes the significance of gay bars in broaching the gay community for newbie homosexuals.
“Tits!” has adapted to the modern world – with some help from Mattel – and now produces weekly Twitch livestreams featuring the Queens who make their way to Milwaukee. This not only helps the bar, but gives a massive platform to these midwestern Queens. In the age of the internet, it is tactics like this that help foster a larger community and bring in more money for small local businesses that are loved by those far and wide.
Mattel described the bar as “tacky” and as “the Cher of gay bars” in an article for “them.” perfectly describing what sounds like a fun place to spend your Saturday nights. It is loyal patrons and benefactors like Mattel that will help small businesses through the pandemic and help them better adjust to being businesses in the 21st century. Without Mattel, Wisconsin could have lost its longest running gay bar. With increasing conservative movements across the Midwest, it is important to keep these businesses that are the cornerstone of queer culture alive. What would the world be without gay bars or Drag Queens or rogue twinks or Trixie Mattel? It is unfair to queer youth if these businesses failed because their patrons follow CDC guidelines and prioritize protecting the greater community, not to mention the lack of support these businesses received from the U.S. government over the past year. It is these businesses that help young 21-year-old gays find a greater community and support system that helps them be authentically who they are.
Thank you, Trixie Mattel. And UNHhhh.