Can a drag queen represent 160,000 New Yorkers on the City Council? New York political activist and drag queen Marti Gould Cummings is about to find out. The 33-year-old is running to represent Upper Manhattan’s District 7, which includes parts of the Upper West Side, West Harlem and Washington Heights. Their journey will be chronicled for a new untitled documentary directed by Emma Fidel and producers Dan Ming, Robert Profusek and Gigi Dement.
A resident of New York for 15 years, Cummings would also be the first non-binary person elected to office in New York City. The film will also include a number of Cummings’ 11 competitors running to represent a district of 160,000 residents. The election, which takes place in June 2021, should gain national attention as 41 of the city’s 59 districts are in play thanks to term limits. Moreover, out of 35 City Council races, District 7 has raised the second-most in political contributions.
In a statement, Cummings remarked, “I believe that politics is for everyone and that activism starts on the local level. I’m excited to showcase my journey in the 2021 election to a wider audience and to use my platform to advocate for issues that matter.”
Fidel, Ming, Profusek and Dement collectively added, “We’re thrilled to chronicle Marti’s effort as a singular candidate during this critical time for American democracy and America’s working class,” the filmmakers said in a joint statement. “We care deeply about queer representation and deconstructing gender norms, and we hope this film helps redefine who can be a politician.”
A working queen for 10 years, Marti founded the Hell’s Kitchen Democrats in 2016 and has served on their local community board and the NYC Nightlife Advisory Board. According to a release about the production, “They are running for office to push for progressive policies and to show that politics should be for everyone.”
Cummings’ campaign has already been covered in Vogue, W Magazine as well as local New York publications.
Fidel and Ming first collaborated at VICE News, where they co-directed and produced, “She’s Running,” about four women running for office for the first time in 2018. The series received the Scripps Howard Topic of the Year Award as part of VICE’s coverage of the 2018 midterm elections. Profusek is a two-time Emmy nominated entertainment executive and entrepreneur, whose productions have been recognized by the Academy, Sundance, Berlin, MoMA, SXSW, and Tribeca. Dement has produced several award-winning films, including “God of Love,” winner of the 2011 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short.