North Texas Daily

We Denton Drag It event concludes Pride Month glitter, fundraising

We Denton Drag It event concludes Pride Month glitter, fundraising

We Denton Drag It event concludes Pride Month glitter, fundraising
July 02
00:48 2018

On Saturday, approximately 1,000 people attended We Denton Drag It, a drag show put on by Friends With Benefits Denton, a local nonprofit. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the night went to charities providing safe spaces for LGBTQ youth and fighting sex trafficking.

“We’re friends with the nonprofits,” said Amber Tyler, secretary of Friends With Benefits. “We create the event, we staff it completely and then the proceeds go to whatever is in need. This year, we have Outreach Denton, which is amazing, and then we have 4theOne, which is something close to my heart. They deal with sex trafficking, and right now it is becoming a big issue that needs to be addressed.”

4theOne is a nonprofit that works to find children missing in the area. They work closely with law enforcement, using social media investigations, internet surveillance, and on-location surveillance, all of which are done by volunteers and four of which are licensed private investigators.

Since their inception in 2015, they have found 91 missing minors, the most recent of which had been missing for two years.

“We think [the event] is great,” said Vicki Latham, director of marketing and development for 4theOne. “It’s wonderful. We just feel blessed that they think of us and are doing this for us.”

On stage, DJ Kind Beats — known to friends as Mikey LaCroix — kept the music flowing between performances, provided commentary for the evening, and occasionally, freestyle rap.

“You see a lot of stuff in the media and on Facebook,” Lacroix said. “You see a lot of hate. But all I see here is love.”

OUTreach Denton works to provides the same types of safe spaces for people who identify as LGBTQ. Aside from taking part in We Denton Drag It, the group also runs a weekly teen youth group, monthly social events for adults and a Valentine’s Day Social for the LGBTQ community, as well as other services.

“I think we’re at a place right now where [the LGBTQ community] could really use something to look forward to, some fun and some celebration, while also remembering that pride is about the fact that we said, ‘We’re not going to hide,’ that we’re going to fight back and we’re going to be here no matter what,” OUTreach Denton Chair Kamyon Conner said. “I think it’ll be great for people to show up in full force.”

Denton’s Backyard on Bell held ‘We Denton Drag It’ to celebrate Pride Month. The show was put on by a local nonprofit organization and the proceeds went to LGBTQ youth charities and fighting sex trafficking. Jessika Hardy

The headliner of the event was Violet Chachki, winner of season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a popular TV show where drag queens compete to become “America’s Next Drag Superstar.”

“She’s [the reason] I came, but all the other queens are awesome, too” 24-year-old Denton resident Jesse Brown said.

Throughout the event, drag queens performed by lip syncing to music and dancing on stage. Performances ranged from five drag muses and a drag king named Hercules performing songs from Disney’s “Hercules” to original music from Three the Hardway, Lorelei K and others.

2017 was the first iteration of We Denton Drag It, as the first showcase was planned as a fundraiser as Promise House, a homeless shelter for runaway and at-risk teens in need of donations and goods for its shelter.

“We always wanted to do something for Pride,” Tyler said. “We partnered with them and hosted an event during Pride Week, and it was phenomenal. People brought out clothes, food and blankets, and half of the proceeds went onto the Promise House. We loved it so much, we were like, ‘We have to do this again,’ so we picked two more charities and right back at it.”

All three nonprofits emphasized the help they get from volunteers, as well as donations.

“We cherish our volunteers,” Tyler said. “Being a nonprofit, no one makes money, not even the founder. Without all of our volunteers, there wouldn’t be an organization to do the good that we do. You have to be thankful for everyone that comes your way.”

This included the drag queens who performed and put on a show for free, accepting only the money that was thrown on stage during their numbers.

OUTreach Denton plans to use the funds raised to organize LGBTQ friendly events and support their youth group, while 4theOne will be using it to acquire software that will aid in tracking down missing children.

“There’s a lot of great organizations in North Texas that need help,” Tyler said. “Being a friend with benefits really helps.”

With what they feel is continued support from the community, Friends With Benefits Denton is already planning the next We Denton Drag It event for next year.

“Hopefully it’s bigger,” Tyler said. “Every year you have to get bigger, right? More glitter, more lights, so hopefully we’ll just keep growing and bring awareness to people that need it.”

Featured  Image: We Denton Drag It headliner Violet Chachki struts across the stage as she is welcomed by screaming fans who had been waiting for her all night. Performers from Denton’s pool of local talent included queens and kings from shows such as SinSational Sundays and Glitterbomb. Kara Dry

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Matias Masson

Matias Masson

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