Silver Lake -- When Maebe A. Girl won a seat on the neighborhood council in 2019, she didn’t even realize something until later: No other drag performer had ever been voted into public office in California. Or perhaps anywhere in the United States.
But now, running for the U.S. Congress in California’s 30th District, she’s much more aware of the possible firsts. Girl could be the first trans candidate elected to federal office if she manages a long-shot win against long-time Congressman Adam Schiff. For a trans person, just getting past the June 7 primary could be a first.
“In facing off with me in the general election, I think that, even if I don't win, it’s going to move him further left.”
Girl came to Los Angeles nine years ago from the Chicago area, where her father was a chef, her mother a salesperson. Girl describes her family as loving and supportive. But as someone who would eventually identify as trans, Girl said middle school and high school were a different story.
“If you’re somebody who’s bullied, you can go one of two ways,” Girl said. “You either become a bully, or you want to make sure that nobody gets bullied.”
She came to Los Angeles, mainly for the weather. But here is where Girl became involved with the drag world. Her act started including political numbers, especially after Donald Trump was elected president. And from there, she started thinking about running for office.
“I will say I was influenced by what some people call 'the AOC effect,'” she said, referring to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “I was really inspired by watching just a regular person run for office.”
In 2020, Girl made her first bid for Congress, coming in third place in the primary behind Schiff and Republican Eric Early.
While running for office, Girl still works as a drag queen and a restaurant server. She is treasurer of the Silver Lake council and works with refugees and the homeless.
In this coming election in June, vestiges of her birth name will make it onto the ballot, where she’ll be listed as G "Maebe A. Girl" Pudlo.
“I’m feeling pretty confident that we’re going to be able to make it through the primary,” she said.
In the meantime, it’s a hectic schedule for Girl, who still works a couple of day jobs as a drag queen and a restaurant server. Among other things, she is treasurer of the Silver Lake council and works with refugees and the homeless.
As for running against Schiff, it is daunting. He’s a well-funded, 11-term incumbent with a nationwide profile.
But, “representation matters," Girl said. “How can we trust that we are being fairly represented when there’s nobody like us representing us on a federal level.”