Purveyors of hate and bigotry beware: It’s almost time to walk for equality!
On Oct. 26, the Equality House is sponsoring the first annual Drag Down Bigotry, a drag show and walk-a-thon to raise money for anti-bullying and human rights advocacy programs run by Planting Peace, Equality House’s parent organization. Supporters will gather in front of Equality House, which of course is across the street from the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, in unity against bigotry.
Amelia Markham, the director of outreach for Planting Peace, said in an email that the organization had been in the works for a couple of months, and it involved quite a bit of research into the history and implications of drag.
“We are constantly interacting with our friends, family, and fans via social media and when we threw out an inquiry as to how we could pursue raising funds for our various advocacy programs one of the more common responses we received was to put together a drag event,” she said. “Although we had to spend quite a bit of time researching the nature and implications of drag performance our discovery of its both historical and culturally rich roots convinced us that this was surely something we needed to put together.”
About 100 groups have signed up to participate in Drag Down Bigotry. It sounds like it will be a hoot and a half, but it’s fun with a purpose. Aaron Jackson, president of Planting Peace, told the Huffington Post:
“Although we intend for everyone to go ‘all out’ and have fun with this event, the cause itself is a very serious one. Young LGBTQ youth are committing suicide at a staggering rate because they are being made to feel as if they are ‘less than.’ We intend to change that message.”
A worthy goal, indeed. LGBT youth are bullied at an alarming rate, and rejection by family can cause even more problems.
Drag is an art form, and it’s the boldness of the art that makes it such an instrumental piece in the LGBT rights movement.
“Drag in this sense is not about aggressive or abrasive behavior to mock or bully anyone but rather communicates a message of celebration and the power of creativity to transcend the rigid gender structures of society that have oppressed the many who have never been able to feel honest or authentic in their existence,” said Markham. “Although the event itself will be undoubtedly entertaining and comedic, this is not about harassing or shaming the WBC. The show will be on our property and is for the sole purpose of raising money and awareness for anti-bullying in public schools as well as equality at large.”
Visit Equality House to learn more.
Photo Credit: Samantha Scott via Flickr