On June 7, the school held its first-ever Pride Chapel event for its lower school, in which Grace Church Schools chaplain Rev. Mark Hummel began the service by sharing a few words on the importance of Pride. Students also learned about the history of the rainbow-colored Pride flag and sat through a reading of “Twas the Night Before Pride” with their parents.
Grace Church High School — a progressive independent Episcopal school in the East Village that charges over $59,000 for yearly tuition — invited renowned New York City drag queen Brita Filter to its sixth annual “Pride Chapel” event for a live performance on April 27.
The event was sponsored by the school and organized with the help of the students and faculty advisers in Spectrum — the high school’s LGBTQ+ support club.
Brita, whose real name is Jesse Havea, performed a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The artist then sat down with the school’s queer director of vocal music, Andrew Leonard, to answer students’ questions about drag performing, queerness and the importance of pride, according to the school.
Video posted on TikTok shows Filter entering the back of the church in full drag, dancing up the aisle in a short-cut orange and blue dress and matching go-go boots as students clapped and cheered him on from the pews.
“I literally went to church to teach the children today,” the performer wrote in the video caption. “A Catholic High School here in NYC invited me to their Pride Chapel. Visibility matters and I’m so honored to have had the chance to talk to you about my work as a LGBTQ+ Drag Queen Activist.”
In another clip of the performance posted to Instagram, Filter — who was a contestant on Season 12 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — can be seen singing a rendition of the classic “The Wizard of Oz” tune, dancing up and down the aisle and up to the altar while students stood and watched.
“Who said you can’t have a drag queen at church? Would you go to this service?” Filter wrote in the post, adding it was a great experience to hear “the beautiful brave queer stories and songs from your students and faculty.”
“I will never forget this beautiful moment,” the performer concluded.