Heklina, San Francisco Drag Icon, Dies at 54

The San Francisco drag queen Heklina, actual name Stefan Grygelko, died on March 25, 2023, at the age of 54, leaving behind one of the drag world’s brightest stars. Peaches Christ, a longtime associate and friend who called her “a true icon, pioneer, and friend,” announced her passing on social media.

who is Stefan Heklina

Heklina, a well-known drag performer, recently passed away at the age of 54. His actual name was Stefan Grygelko. Heklina was a well-known drag artist, promoter, and producer from San Francisco and one of the original members of the storied Trannyshack. She was renowned for her outrageous costumes, irreverent humor, and acts that pushed the limits. She paved the way and served as an inspiration to many in the drag community and LGBTQ+ community, and her impact will endure.

Early Life and Career

Heklina, an Icelandic native who moved to San Francisco in the 1990s, established a name for herself as a performer, promoter, and producer. Heklina was born in 1969. She was one of the original performers in the storied Trannyshack drag show, which began as a weekly performance at a dive bar in San Francisco’s Mission district and ultimately spread across the country.

Heklina was renowned for her outrageous performances that frequently included elaborate lip-syncs, dance routines, and audience involvement, as well as her irreverent humour and outrageous costumes. Additionally, she had a good sense of ability and assisted in the career launches of several aspiring drag queens, including Lady Bunny, Jackie Beat, and Alaska Thunderfuck.

What happened to heklina?

Heklina, a legendary transgender performer from San Francisco, recently passed away at the age of 54. Although the reason for her death has not yet been made public, numerous members of the LGBTQ+ community have posted messages of sympathy on social media. Heklina was a well-liked personality in the drag world, and her influence on the neighbourhood will be felt for many years to come. Numerous people will mourn her dearly.

Heklina’s Other Accomplishments

Heklina’s career was filled with many other successes besides her work with Trannyshack. The annual Drag Queens of Comedy show, which she created and which featured some of the funniest drag queens in the industry. She also had a role in the online series “The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes,” which was a drag-only remake of the popular sitcom. Heklina was also a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, using her platform to spread the word and collect money for groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the San Francisco LGBT Center.

Tributes and Reactions

Commendations and condolences came in from all over the globe as soon as word of Heklina’s passing spread. Drag queens, performers, and admirers shared their recollections of Heklina and expressed their sorrow over her passing on social media. Many thanked her for paving the way for upcoming generations of drag artists and praised her for her skill, generosity, and kindness.

Heklina’s longtime friend and coworker Peaches Christ wrote on Instagram in a moving tribute: “Heklina was a real icon, a pioneer, and a friend. She permanently altered the way drag looked, and the countless performers and admirers she influenced will carry on her heritage. Enjoy your dominion, Heklina.


What was Trannyshack?

Trannyshack was a drag show that started as a weekly event at a dive bar in San Francisco’s Mission district and eventually became a nationwide phenomenon. It was known for its irreverent spirit, inclusive vibe, and diverse audience of LGBTQ+ people, artists, activists, and allies.

What was Heklina’s legacy?

Heklina’s legacy is one of creativity, fearlessness, and commitment to authenticity. She paved the way for future generations of drag performers and creators and challenged traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and identity.

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