One of the most defining moments in my coming out story was attending a drag punk show at an LGBTQIA+ bar in New Mexico. I was in college, around 1996-1998 or so; hard to tell because this was pre-social media and we did not travel everywhere with cameras at that time. I was at Pulse, one of two LGBTQIA+ nightclubs in Albuquerque which have now since closed their doors.
At midnight, the DJ paused and a group of drag performers took to the stage and started setting up instruments and equipment for a live performance. What came next will forever remain with me. The performers belted out punk song after punk song, including “Killing In the Name” by Rage Against the Machine. When the band performed that song, I remember being surrounded by my LGBTQIA+ family as the audience jumped in the air, fists pumped, screaming, “F*ck you I won’t do what you tell me.” I had never felt such a broad range of emotions about my queer identity before in my life. Pride. Rage. Love. Hope. Unity. Joy. Tears streamed down my face, and every drop was for our communities.
I tap into that experience more and more daily as I watch politicians legislate our right to exist away. Sometimes I feel all of those emotions, feel overwhelmed, and am not sure how to take action. What is within my capacity is to support events like STAND UP NYC: A Benefit for Our Trans & Drag Family in Tennessee & Beyond.
STANDUP NYC will be held on Tuesday, March 21 from 7pm – 2am at 3 Dollar Bill (260 Meserole St, Brooklyn, NY). While currently sold out, special limited additional tickets will be on sale at bit.ly/standupbenefit and donations are being accepted via Venmo to @standupnyc
The event will bring together the NYC nightlife community to raise vital funds to fight locally and nationally against ongoing anti-Trans legislation passed in Tennessee, Alabama, and across the United States.
Showcasing an intersection of 250+ notable nightlife figures, performers, DJs, photographers, and speakers, STAND UP NYC will feature drag shows, dancing, raffles, and speeches to raise money for three important causes. Among those scheduled to perform and appear are Luxx Noir London, Jax, & Marcia Marcia Marcia (from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15), MILK (RPDR S.6), Olivia Lux (RPDR S.13), La Zavaleta & Maddelynn Hatter (from The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula), Janelle No. 5 (Glam Award 2021 Entertainer of the Year), and Marti Gould Cummings (drag activist), as well as an additional headliner performer from RuPaul’s Drag Race to be announced soon.
The night will equally and entirely benefit three organizations working on the ground to protect Trans people and the LGBTQ+ community: ACLU of Tennessee; Black Trans Liberation (NYC(; and Trans Formations Project. Tickets are available on an affordable sliding scale from $10-30, and funds will also be raised through raffles and local vendors, who are committing to donating a percentage of sales. The popular event sold out to over 700 ticket buyers in less than 24 hours after sales opened, proving a compelling energy to stand up against recent attacks facing the transgender community and LGBTQ+ Americans.
STAND UP NYC is sponsored by Milk Makeup, and other sponsors to be announced.
Raffle prizes will be available from Broadway’s “New York, New York,” The Brooklyn Academy of Music, MyBestJudy Merch, Voss Events Presents: RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq the World Tour, and many more. ASL interpretation will be provided throughout the event.
Produced by Drag artist Julie J and producer Aaron S. Hock.