A PRIDE PARTY WITH A VIEW
My last week of Pride Month reached some new heights, starting with a Penthouse Pride celebration to benefit It Gets Better. Photographer Levi Foster, actor Joslyn DeFreece and celeb EJ Johnson hosted the beautiful Saturday afternoon event atop The Standard Hotel in New York City’s East Village.
In welcoming everyone, each of the three hosts spoke from the heart about what their life was like as an LGBTQ youth and how it got better for them. As Levi Foster spoke of having no gay role models or sense of someone to identify with as a kid, I couldn’t help but think of my own child, Harry, growing up in the nineties. And I got a little misty when Levi compared It Gets Better to a lighthouse for youth around the world. “We are a vibrant, diverse community,” he said, “waiting for them with open arms.”
The wonderful people I met at Penthouse Pride, were all so supportive of the It Gets Better Project’s work to uplift, empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth across the globe through personal stories of hope, determination and resilience. There is an It Gets Better story for every kid who feels alone.
And my bonus was catching up with the staff and other board members who are based in Los Angeles. I consider it a privilege to work with them.
After the event, Levi Foster talked about hosting a big NYC holiday party for It Gets Better. I know it’s a little hard to think about December right now, but that would be fun!
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH PFLAG
I loved hanging out pre-Pride Parade with the loving and pride-filled parents, families, and friends of LGBTQ+ kids who make up the PFLAG chapters of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. On Sunday, we numbered 260 proud activists!
PFLAG National has been helping families stay close and stand up for their LGBTQ loved ones for 45 years. While I saw those feelings of love, protection and safety represented on signs, it was most evident on faces. You’ll see what I mean as you scroll down my album.
We even had a celebrity among us! None other than nine-year-old drag star Desmond Napoles of Brooklyn. Desmond has marched in the NYC Pride Parade since 2015. The outfit he designed for 2017 was a head-to-toe tribute to drag superstar RuPaul, grounded with colorful sneakers.
According to Desmond’s dad, he’s not allowed to wear heels in the parade. Heels or not, the aspiring drag queen and writer sure knows how to strike a pose. And how I wish I’d had Desmond’s mom, Wendylou, as a role model when Harry was that age and wanted to wear clothes from his dress-up box 24/7.
Okay, I know it’s only been summer officially for about ten days, and I’ve already mentioned December, but early-bird tickets for Bushwig 2017 are now on sale! The two-day festival of drag, music and love will be held September 23rd and 24th at the Knockdown Center in Queens (of course), New York.
Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 9 winner Sasha Velour will headline. (I was definitely Team Sasha this season.) Other Drag Race alumni performing this year include Alaska, Violet Chachki, Thorgy Thor and Pearl. And, of course, Mz. Amber Alert, the ever-amazing blend of gorgeous/filthy (aka my kid Harry), will be taking the stage as well. Trust me, Bushwig is a reason to visit NYC in the fall!
‘QUEER KID STUFF’
Speaking of drag, if you’re not sure how you’d explain it to a child or even tell an adult what drag is all about, you’re going to love the new “Ms. Ter” episode in Lindsay Amer’s Queer Kid Stuff educational webseries. It really makes so much sense! Check it out below.
So cool, right?! I’m going to adopt one of Ms. Ter’s descriptions of drag for the next I get asked about it. I absolutely LOVE the idea that drag queens are the hosts of the queer community.
I wish you a Happy Fourth of July holiday. May it be filled with individual freedom, feelings of independence and equality, and a whole lotta Pride, because that never goes out of season. And for us parents, family, and friends of the LGBTQ+ community, let’s remember how important it is to give trans and queer youth a voice each and every day.
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