Visibili-T is dedicated to transgender members of our community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, some you know and many you don’t. It is designed to amplify their voices and detail their experiences in life.
This issue, we check in with Nicole Levy, also known as fan favorite drag performer TeMonet. When she isn’t entertaining the masses under the spotlight, the Buffalo, New York native and Tampa resident works in restaurant management.
“Across the board I love what I do because I get to make people smile — whether it’s on or offstage,” Levy says. “I love interacting with people, being their cause for laughter and providing the best experience wherever they catch me working.”
It’s a key part of what brought the entertainer to Florida. She says she wanted to “grow outside of my western New York roots and become more visible and nationally known as an entertainer, activist and as a person in general,” something she’s accomplished at length in the years since.
Levy can regularly be found at LGBTQ+ hotspots throughout Tampa Bay, including St. Petersburg’s Enigma and Cocktail. “I am affectionately known as ‘the people’s queen,’” Levy says, a moniker she takes seriously and wears with pride.
“I love drag because it allows me to take center stage and share my art with the world,” she explains. “We are artists more than anything and getting to share that while being paid for it is a blessing. I use my brand to elevate causes, marginalized voices and put on one hell of a show.”
It’s something the entertainer reflected on at length with Watermark in 2020.
“We have the ability together to change the world,” she wrote in a column. “I was able and willing over and over again to make changes in my life by rejecting bigotry, achieving things I never thought would be possible. Most importantly, I had love in my life from my family and friends to sustain me.
“We can use our voices to help uplift others and highlight the good in all communities across our great country, while remembering the systems and ideologies that were put in place to keep marginalized communities in the red,” Levy continued. “It seems now more than ever that a person is only as strong as the voices and people around them.”
It’s one of the reasons she wanted to participate in Visibili-T, noting she “had the lovely task of coming out twice.” The second time was as transgender at 16 years old.
“Visibility is a very important dynamic to who I am in my trans journey,” Levy says. “Both experiences were met with love and support — my family and my community had my back 100% — and that leaves someone very well rounded and grounded. It shaped me as an adult.
“I was concerned with my identity, but it just wasn’t an issue which let me focus on work, nursing school and other achievements,” she adds. “I was just me! Being seen could help the next generation feel seen and inspire them to live their lives out loud.”
It’s Levy’s hope that everyone who is LGBTQ+ gets to experience that. She says if there’s one thing she’d like to see improved in the community, it’s communication — specifically around mental health for LGBTQ+ youth and adults.
“I want us all to grow old and have full lives,” Levy notes. “No one should feel their live isn’t worth living.”
As for how she’s lived hers, she admits perhaps some of it was too quick. Levy says she’d tell her younger self to “take your time growing up!”
“You’re going to be an adult a lot longer than you’ll be a kid, so take it all in and enjoy it while you can,” she muses. “My human experience isn’t unique; I’m not the only trans individual and I think we can all agree adulting sucks. But I make it work and I work hard!”
Thankfully it’s by doing what she loves.
“I love the restaurant business and managing it is in my blood,” Levy notes. “I love creating stellar dining experiences and my favorite thing to do in our community is be backstage with my brothers and sisters in the Tampa Bay area. I love us!”
Interested in being featured in Visibili-T? Email Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Williams in Central Florida or Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent in Tampa Bay.