Mikki Gillette Is One of Portland’s Most Revolutionary Playwrights

“Her work centers transgender and nonbinary characters and celebrates their full humanity.”

Age: 44

Occupation: Fundraiser and playwright

Why She Matters: Gillette is one the city’s foremost trans artists—and she tells trans stories in her own voice. Among her many significant works is The Queers, an ensemble drama focused almost exclusively on trans characters that is perhaps the most entertaining, moving and provocative play to emerge from the Portland theater scene since the start of the pandemic.

As a playwright, Gillette has a rare gift for simultaneously enlightening and entertaining her audience. “I’m hoping my plays can help people understand our community a little better while also giving them a great night of drama,” she says.

“Mikki is a bold playwright,” says director Asae Dean. “If you work with Mikki, you know her as a mild-mannered and gentle person. If you know Mikki’s work, you know a wide range of characters who boil over with rage, are frozen with indecision, beset with anxiety, etc. She writes these richly observed ensemble pieces that refuse to romanticize anyone while holding a real tenderness and care for everyone.”

Biggest Influence: “It’s a combination of my life experience and the authors I loved when I was younger, like Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare.”

Greatest Personal Achievement: “Becoming myself and falling in love.”

Favorite Guilty Pleasure: “Gosh, it feels like all the things that used to be ‘guilty pleasures’ have been reclaimed by culture.”

Best Quote About Her: “Her work centers transgender and nonbinary characters and celebrates their full humanity.” —Asae Dean

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