David Willeitner – Salt Lake City, Utah

“My hope for the future – and this is something that I’ve been working on right now, specifically, very recently – is I want to start seeing myself as deserving of the love that people show me. I’ve always had confidence in myself but now I want to have pride in myself. And that comes from being able to live up to the love I see in the people around me.”

“My name is David Willeitner and I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I also go by the name Trynity Starr. I’ve been performing in Salt Lake City for 24 years now. I started working here at Club Try-Angles as a barback to help out.

The bar represents community work, it’s very prevalent in helping out charities, organizations, so I felt like it was a good home and it made me feel safe. Being here makes me help other people feel safe, so it makes me very happy.”

“I don’t know that I would say [the Salt Lake City LGBTQ* community] is stronger, I will say it’s much wider and far-reaching, more so than I think people give it credit for. I think most communities come together with strength because they feel a need to support each other, and being in a very religion-centric state, where people have that belief – that the Mormon Church, or any religion, is predominant – people feel a need to tell each other that ‘you’re not alone.’

And I think that for the longest time the presence of the church required us to be very, very supportive of each other. So even the catty bitches, you know, the drag queens, the twinks, the jocks, the sub-sets of groups, all support each other. And this bar, to me, specifically represents a place where every one of those groups – whether you’re a 13-year transsexual, a drag queen, a 300-pound bear, or a twink – everybody is nice to each other and kind to each other. Because this is safe. And we want this to be safe.

And I think that’s translated into the community well enough that we have a lot of straight partners and community members, specifically locally and farther-reaching, that come in and actually show they’re comfortable here as much as we are. So that means the world to us.”

“I traveled around a little bit, looking for somewhere else to be. I wanted to leave until after traveling I realized not only is my home, my friends, my family here, but it’s a beautiful place to live. It’s very open, very clean. I’ve been in places that constantly smell like trash or urine. Places where it’s super expensive or super pretentious. It’s a nice place. Kinda like suburbs with big buildings.”

“I think I was scared when I was younger to set up new roots somewhere else because you have to start over, it’s like being the low person on the totem pole. But when I’m here in Salt Lake, specifically, I’ve met so many people through this job that everyone of them feels like family to me. I can have a busy night with 150 people in the bar and I can tell you 130 of their names. I can tell you where they live, how they live their sister’s name, if a pet has died. I’ve gotten to have a family so much bigger than the one I was born into that I don’t know that I would be able to leave and be happy.”

“I met a man, I won’t say his name, he’s a very nice guy, and he was very uncomfortable around me the first couple of times that we hung out. And he came to one of my drag shows, here at Club Try-Angles, about two years ago, maybe about two-and-a-half years ago. And he’d always been very cordial, very civil with me, very polite but you could see his discomfort – he was here with a great deal of friends.

After the show he sat down outside and talked with me and two or three hours later he gave me a hug and says ‘I have a little brother that I haven’t talked to in -’ I don’t remember how many years he said, but it was a good number. And this guy’s in his 40s, his little brother’s in his late-30s, and he says ‘I haven’t talked to him in a number of years because I hated his lifestyle and you, you’ve made me miss him.’

He didn’t say that I’d changed his mind, he didn’t say that I’d somehow shifted his focus or his beliefs, but he said that I was a nice person and that reminded him of his brother. And that was the greatest compliment I could have gotten is that somebody thought not only was I a nice person, but that I reminded them of family.”

“I think it’s important to me that people know that I love where I am because of the people I get to be with.”

“I think it’s cool, much like when Hillary Clinton ran for president – little girls everywhere now know they can do that – same thing with our mayor. People in Salt Lake, Republicans and Democrats alike…have realized that it’s more important that you look at the person for what they’re going to get done, rather than who they are in the community. And I think that our mayor, Jackie Biskupski, represents that.”

“The first time I did drag, I was a very scared little 16-year-old boy who walked into a club, far younger than I should have been in there. And I saw these brave, confident, outgoing, over-the-top, bigger-than-life characters and I envied them. I envied them strongly enough that I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and try and do what they were doing. And twelve, twenty-some-odd years later, I feel like I’m starting to get near as good as they were.

I never want to say that I’m done. The character that I’ve learned to become represents all of the qualities I want to see in myself, including kindness, honesty, really good lashes, you know? I think it’s important to me that people see drag queens, or public figures in any aspect of their life, as somebody who represents where we should be as a people…

So I can have big hair and a big personality, but that doesn’t give me free reign to be an asshole or a jerk to someone. I want people who meet me to be happy that they did – both about themselves and about me.”

Limited edition print available (alpha edition):
Giclée (Archival Inkjet) print w/ quotes, in window cutout, typed on artist’s 1955 Olympia SM3 Typewriter.
1” Matte Black Frame, 2” Ivory Mat, Archival Hinge Mount, UV Glass.
12″ x 8″ (Framed: 18″ x 14″)

David - Limited Edition Print, Alpha Series
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