Cover Story

Champion of Pride: Paris Quion

By JP Emerson

Paris Quion is a California based Drag entertainer, nightlife personality, community activist and business person. Born and raised in San Diego California, Paris is always proud to boast about the impact the Hillcrest community has had in her upbringing and their important role in who she is today. Her parents used San Diego’s LGBT Center Services during her coming out as well as throughout her transition which inspired her to help further their outreach now as an adult. She is a  woman who wears many hats in the different aspects of her professional life but all those tend to focus back into one important thing, her love for her community and her hopes of contributing to a gentler world for our queer community. 

As a drag entertainer she is able to combine her talents as a trained dancer with her passion and formal education in fashion design. Her performance style, though fierce, leans towards being light hearted, whimsical, and uplifting, all while dawning elaborate custom-made costumes one of which has been worthy of being featured in the San Diego History Museum. In recent years, she has also been given the honor of being a headliner in the San Diego Pride festival with her high production show featuring San Diego based guest entertainers for the True Colors Revue, praised to be a show given with heart. The other half of Paris’ life on stage is donating her time to fundraising and awareness. With annual events raising funds supporting Trans Family Services, The Tracie Jada O’Brien Transgender Scholarship Fund, The San Diego LGBTQ Center, San Diego Pride, San Diego Family Justice Center Foundation to combat domestic violence and provide support to its victims, The California Innocence Project, Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Walk, and Aids Walk & Run, Drag Queen Story Hour, to name a few. 

When off the stage, as a business woman, she focuses on creating an inclusive space for the LGBTQ community in and out of Hillcrest. Consulting in corporate spaces on inclusivity and anti-discrimination. Paris also devotes her time making her rounds speaking in high schools and colleges, both to students and administrations sharing her journey in hopes of contributing to a safe space for our youth and young adults. She also frequents government facilities like the City Hall, SDPD/Sheriff’s Department, and the Health Department in San Diego speaking on behalf of the LGBTQ on gender sensitivity, legal rights, and hoping to give a face for understanding, empathy, dignity and ethical treatment of our queer community. 

Eventually when she gets home, she uses her social media presence with the goal of helping everyone find a way of not feeling or being alone. The brilliance of technology is something to not be wasted so she uses her extensive social media  platform to advocate for voices less heard. Outside of her public social media presence,  she also operates HeyAuntieParis. A simple email account that LGBTQ people have been welcomed to message as a means to connect with someone willing to listen. No judgment, just love. 

What does Hillcrest mean to you?

Hillcrest for me is home. It’s my family. Hillcrest is my safe space to feel one hundred percent myself and feel supported. The community we have in Hillcrest is so uniquely beautiful and resilient and we prove time and time again that when we come together, we can get through anything and we are willing to face future challenges head on.

Can you talk about the evolution of the community throughout the years?

We’re always going to be evolving. I’ve seen events that were specific for a certain subset of our community expand to events for everyone. I’ve also seen that with any form of progress comes change. In these recent years, I know we have collectively experienced a lot more of our allies joining us in our queer spaces. While I respect that it may not be ideal for some, I kind of chose to make peace with it which eventually made me embrace it. I take it as another opportunity to expand support for our community if those guests approach our community with dignity and respect. There’s room for everyone who comes with love in the Hillcrest community I have built in my heart.

Your feelings on being named Champion of Pride for this year’s Spirit of Stonewall Awards?

Let me start by saying that it’s definitely an honor but it’s also very humbling and daunting because I know that there are countless folks who show up and step up just as much as us honorees do and the imposter syndrome in me can’t help but want that Mean Girls movie moment where she breaks apart her crown to share with everyone. Then I realized that that’s exactly what I can do, take this opportunity and expand the reach if those around me where I can. On a personal note, this honor definitely hit different because of my adoration for San Diego Pride as an organization but also as one of the first steps I was able to take a young queer person in finding my community and feeling embraced in my community.

What is your advice for the younger LGBTQ+ Generations?

Find light where you can. Move at your own speed. Something I learned later on in life was that being loved for who I am shouldn’t be the consolation prize for doing good or being a good person. We should just be loved period. What we are able to do after that is just icing on our fabulous rainbow cake.

Your hopes for the future of our LGBTQ+ Hillcrest community?

I hope that our community continues to thrive but expand that privilege and focus more on lifting up the voices of our most marginalized and vulnerable siblings. I want us to be aware that our accomplishments in equality doesn’t complete our fight. With each accomplishment I of course encourage us all to celebrate BUT please don’t forget to reflect. Unless all community members are moving forward with us, our fight cannot be over. To anyone reading this, I ask, please find a first and second step into how you can contribute to the betterment of all in our community. All it takes is those first couple of steps and everything falls into place from there.