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20 Queer Q's with Nina West

20 Queer Q's with Nina West

20 Queer Q's with Nina West

Let's get to know more about the campy, comedy queen & Drag Race season 11 contestant with a round of 20 Queer Q's!


The 20 Queer Q's series seeks to capture LGBTQ+ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity. We get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value.

The goal of these intimate conversations is to leave you, the reader, feeling like you just gained a new friend, a new perspective, and that you learned something new about or saw a different side of someone—maybe someone that you don’t see online, but someone that’s maybe like you.

For this round of 20 Queer Q’s, we're getting to know drag queen Nina West! Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she's been drag performer for the past 18 years and placed sixth in Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, all while running the Nina West Foundation and hosting her very own podcast!

Name: Andrew Levitt / Nina West

Age: 40

Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His

Sexually Identifies As: Gay

What do you love about the LGBTQ+ community?

I love that there’s a community that has embraced, loved, and protected me and I’m very grateful how I’ve been raised by this tribe of people, especially during dark times.

What are your thoughts on PrEP?

I think it’s a great tool to have in your toolbox but I don’t think it’s the only thing we should rely on. I think there’s a reason that other STD’s are on the rise because people aren’t wearing condoms. You want to protect yourself against more than HIV and I think we need to use all the tools in our toolbox, but I think PrEP is an amazing, amazing medical tool. It is an incredible tool to use but it is not the only tool we should be using.

What are your thoughts on dating in the LGBTQ+ community?

I think relationships are hard regardless of whether you’re gay or straight. I think we have to go into this idea of wanting to work on relationships and being successful, healthy, and working on our own terms of what being in a healthy relationship means.

How did you feel attending your first Pride?

I was 18 years old in college and my queer professor drove me to Columbus, Ohio to see my first Pride. It was overwhelming, uncomfortable, and awesome. Here were all these people living so loudly and I was trying to figure out how I could do that myself and I felt so much freedom, visibility, and awareness. I was really overwhelmed and inspired that it left an impression on me.

What does Pride mean to you?

I think it’s a great touching point to remember to be proud every day. It’s when we should be able to allow ourselves, that we should be proud, love ourselves, and our community everyday.

Who is someone you consider to be an LGBTQ+ icon?

Harvey Fierstein is an incredible icon. Harvey’s a legendary living icon who has written plays about these issues that face our community like Torch Song Trilogy, which is so heavy, big, and smart, and so I think he should be celebrated more.

What’s a song you consider to be an LGBTQ+ anthem?

"We Are Family" by Sister Sledge.

What’s advice you have for LGBTQ+ youth?

Don’t give up. Know that there are people out there who do care, who want to see you be successful and create a life where you can be yourself and be as happy as you want to be, living as the person you feel or know you are and have access to a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Do you believe in love?

Of course, I believe in love. If you give up on the idea that love exists I think you give up on having a happy life.

What are values that you look for in an ideal partner?

Honesty, trust, adventure, independence, someone willing to live a life that is unscripted, but well planned.

What’s the first piece of media where you saw an LGBTQ+ person. How did it make you feel?

Pedro Zamora on The Real World. I was in high school and not only was he an LGBT person, but he was an openly positive person and it was so powerful and impactful. What was being said to me as a closeted teenager was that if I come out, I’ll get AIDS and die. There was nobody changing that dialogue, there’s nobody saying that that was misinformation. We had an administration like George H.W. Bush that was really promoting conversations like that.

Fill in the blank: When I think of comfort, I think of _________.

Home. Home can be anywhere, but I’m really lucky to have this incredible community in Columbus, Ohio.

What’s your relationship with your family like?

I’m very close with my immediate family. I think it’s easy for me to rattle that off, but it took a lot of long talks, hard conversations, and painful moments and chapters of our lives that took years. It didn’t happen overnight. Because we love each other, we had to put in the work, but they’ve never given up on me and I’ve never given up on them.

What is the title of the current chapter of your life?

“Buckle Up, Bitch!”

What are deal breakers for you when dating someone?

Lack of honesty, lack of transparency. I don’t need to be impressed, I want someone to come at me with 100 percent of who they are.

Fill in the blank: In 5 years I want to _________.

Continue trying to find the best version of myself.

What does self-love look like to you?

I think it’s taking time out to recharge, regroup, and put in the priorities of the life you wanna live first and allowing yourself to go after the things you want without the influence of other people telling you that that’s not good enough, that’s not okay or that you’re not good enough.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t stand in your own way.

How would you like to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered as a kind person who always put others first and believed that you can make a difference by simply smiling or assisting somebody when they’re having a hard day.

Are you the person you thought you’d grow up to be? Do you think younger you would be proud of older you?

I’m the person that I dreamt I would grow up to be. I think undoubtly younger me would be proud of older me.

Keep up with Nina’s shows and travel over on her Twitter and Instagram!

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