As civil rights protests continue across the country, local drag performers will hold a virtual performance honoring one of the pivotal moments in the modern LGBTQ+ movement, the Stonewall Uprising.
“That anniversary is this Saturday night. It’s been 51 years since that three-day riot began,” said Gigi Monroe, drag producer and performer in a phone interview. “We’re theming that show to honor those people and the birth of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement.”
The Stonewall Riots were a series of riots in 1969 following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, an LGBTQ+ friendly bar in New York City. They were widely recognized as one of the catalyzing events in the LGBTQ+ movement.
“Sometimes, just those simple acts of being out in your community can be just as revolutionary,” Monroe said.
Donations to the show will go to the Trans Justice Funding Project, a national umbrella organization. TJFP recently donated to an Anchorage LGBTQ+ support nonprofit, the Choosing Our Roots organization, which helps support LGBTQ+ youth.
“When we were trying to choose a group to support out there it was hard to find something that was Trans-led and Black, Indigenous, People of Color-led that wasn’t super-localized,” Monroe said. “(We wanted) something that was really focused on supporting grassroots efforts for those most vulnerable or impacted in their communities.”
For Monroe, the show is as much about celebrating as civil rights.
“It’s about remembering that LGBTQ pride is about more than parades and rainbows and celebrating and parties. It’s about grassroots organizing and civil rights,” Monroe said. “Recognizing the moment in time that we’re at right now, with the civil rights struggles for Black people, for people of color, for all the people that have yet to experience true freedom. We are 100% in solidarity with all movements for civil rights.”
While moving the monthly shows online has been necessary with COVID-19 concerns, Monroe said, it’s not without its challenges.
“The tech issues are outrageous. It is so challenging. I cannot emphasize that enough. I have had to learn so much about the process of broadcasting,” Monroe said. “I’m doing it all myself. There’s a lot of wires and cords and plugs and I’m just trying to keep up with it. It really takes a village of all these separate pieces. I’m doing this without a stage manager or a tech manager.”
There have been offsetting considerations, however.
“I think we’ve done a little better each time. I figured out how to do a greenscreen last time which felt like a triumph. A lot of people internationally can watch it now. It’s a window into our community,” Monroe said. “We don’t have to worry about having room in the dressing room.”
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“I’ve issued a fundraising matching challenge, up to $500 dollars for the Trans Justice Foundation Project that I will match personally,” Monroe said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to come up with a thousand dollars by the end of the show.”
Donations to individual performers is most effectively done through Venmo, Monroe said.