DRAG OUT THE VOTE Showcase: MAY 6TH
Drag performers, LGBTQIA + Leaders, and social justice organizations will come together for a special DRAG OUT THE VOTE SHOWCASE featuring a curated performance based on anthems by the band ‘Queen’. Los Mentirosos, House of Eternas, Southwest Public Workers Union (SPWU) are teaming up for this special event.
All the participants, including the venue, were affected by the November 2022 wave of local factions of the conservative group “The Proud Boys”, a group that felt emboldened by the political wave of right wing hate politics to directly confront and slander local community leaders, and performers. Part of our goal is to help the affected venue and Drag Artists to recover from lost wages and revenue from those attacks on their art and character last winter and ensure that these vital community safe spaces and creative powerhouses are able to not only survive but thrive here in San Antonio. The Queens and Kings are using their vote and their voice to protect the community from life threatening policies. This is a family friendly event with resources, local organizations, and free food.
May 6th @ 12pm to 3pm
1910 Fredericksburg Rd
Statements from Performers, the Venue and Organization:
The Starlighter: “In addition to having to cancel the remainder of our drag events for the year 2022 (there were 3 remaining), we additionally had to up our in person security, we have had to disable comments on our Instagram posts for months due to harassment which can take away from community engagement & reach, we have had countless Google reviews left that negatively affect our business calling us groomers & pedophiles, which is so harmful as we are an all ages music venue as well. While we have gotten some of the reviews taken down, there are still new ones coming in every week. While this has taken a toll on us emotionally & mentally, it has also done so financially. As owners of a new venue we do not make any money, everything made from the venue goes back into it & our community. Because of the recent attacks, the false negative feedback from media, & the canceling of pivotal events, we’ve had to pay a lot of bills out of our personal pockets, which has been a struggle since one of our owners was also recently battling cancer during this time. She is now back on her feet health wise, but is still struggling with the financial toll this has taken.”
SWU Justice: “Our organization is under surveillance physically and online. In the past we have faced digital hacks that have impacted our ability to run civic engagement campaigns, we have faced property damage, death threats, violent phone calls using derogatory language. This has caused us to amp up our security measures to keep our members and staff safe. We believe that everyone deserves the right to thrive. We will continue to bring people together to develop community based solutions and challenge hateful - life threatening policy. "
Miss Taint: “Hello , my name is Brian Hernandez and my stage name is Miss Taint . I am the founder and house mother of the House of Eternas - San Antonio’s BIPOC alternative drag troupe . On December 2nd , 2022 , we were attacked at our All Ages Toy Drive drag show by members associated with “The Proud Boys” - an extremist right wing association . Because of this , The Starlighter (our home venue and safe space) and myself cancelled 3+ drag shows for the remainder of the year due to safety concerns as we were getting violent threats, causing myself and my troupe to lose a potential $200+ each (not including tips) . This affected us greatly in many different ways , not only financially , but mentally and emotionally as it left us scared to do our jobs as entertainers with fear of being attacked once more . Thank you for your time , for reading this statement , and for caring about local drag performers and entertainers . We greatly appreciate it”
Ezzz Brezzy : “Hello my name is Ernell Marshall , and I go by the stage name Ezzz Brezzy . I am a member of the House of Eternas , San Antonio’s premiere BIPOC alternative drag troupe . On December 2nd we were attacked at the all ages toy drive at The Starlighter by “The Proud Boys” and it hurt us a lot . We were doing nothing wrong but raising toys for the less fortunate for Christmas . We had to cancel 3 drag shows that month after the attack cause we were all scared . We lost over $200 (not including tips) of showpay and this affected my financials greatly cause drag is one of my jobs that I take serious . It left me scared to go perform again and I’m still scared sometimes because I am a black gay non-binary individual . This was not right what they did to us . Thank you for caring and for listening to our stories .”
Mx Smokey Bear: “Hi, my name is Andrew "Andi" B Reyes, also known by the stage name Mx Smokey Bear Lavender. I am one of the newest members of the House of Eternas , San Antonio’s leading BIPOC alternative drag troupe . On December 2nd, we were attacked by a radical conservative group known as "The Proud Boys" at an all age event & toy drive at The Starlighter for the upcoming holidays . We had to cancel multiple drag shows that month at this venue after the attack due to uncertainty in safety. We lost countless gigs and showpay (approximately $200 upward), which was quite disheartening, being that drag is one of my major points of income that I enjoy . I was also terrorfied to perform at other third-party venues as well due to the national attention it brought, making myself and the community an easy target for other such organized hate and henious right-wing motives. It's definitely not been easy getting back on our feet, but i dont intend on giving upon my creative livelyhood. I appreciate yall taking the time and hearing our voices.”
Taryn Tino: “Hi, my name is Crystal Galindo and my stage name is Taryn Tino. I am one of the founders of the House of Eternas - San Antonio’s BIPOC alternative drag troupe.
On December 2nd, 2022, we were attacked at our Christmas All Ages Toy Drive drag show by members associated with “The Proud Boys” - an extreme right wing association. This caused The Starlighter (our home venue/safe space) and House of Eternas to cancel 3+ drag shows for the remainder of the year, due to safety concerns because The Starlighter and House of Eternas were getting violent threats online. Which caused myself and my troupe to lose a potential $200+ each (not including tips). This affected us greatly in many different ways, not only financially, but mentally and emotionally as it left us scared to do our jobs as entertainers with fear of being attacked again or even worse. I even made my instagram profile private for over a month out of fear. Thank you for your time, for reading this statement and for caring about local drag performers and entertainers. We appreciate it immensely.”
Bloody Blush : “As a newly established Drag performer in the scene, I felt welcomed by my fellow drag family at the Starlighter. I’ve been welcomed into this safe space to showcase my art and express myself in a fun and creative way. To my surprise, our safe space was invaded by two individuals who were at The Starlighter for the wrong reasons.
These two individuals who were associated with The Proud Boys sat through the entire show from beginning to end- recording every performer, applauding after their numbers, and even staying after to get photos taken with the queens. These photos and videos were used to create a false narrative of the events that took place that night. From what I thought was a night filled with love and acceptance turned into a viral video made to destroy the lgbtq community. Photos and videos of myself were being spread all over social media with hateful comments, false accusations, and death threats.
Due to this incident, I have had to make hard decisions to pause my drag career and cancel vendor opportunities for my business which has taken a toll on my financial situation which totaled $200+ (not including tips). As a queer individual whom runs their own business, I fear for my safety at public events due to this horrible incident. I should not be afraid to express myself through drag. Drag is an art form, only used to spread love and creativity to everyone who attends our shows. “
A special Thank You to SWU Alumni Juan Atilano for sponsoring the postcard images.