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Campy Cabaret raising money for Trans Lifeline

Local production company owner responds to “active crisis against trans lives” with SUMMER CAMP, June 17 at the White Eagle Polish Hall
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“This show feels like a moment of reclamation for them to enjoy the fun and adventure of camp but this time on their own terms in a safe and supportive environment,” said Tala Small Wolf. (Marissa Lyn Photography)

When Tala Small Wolf, founder of adult production company SINnergy, realized her dance classes had more students that identified as non-binary or trans than cisgender students, she felt compelled to support the LGBTQI+ community in some way.

She is now raising money for the Trans Lifeline project with SINnergy’s upcoming show SUMMER CAMP: A Country and Campy Cabaret, June 17 at the White Eagle Polish Hall.

“I became aware that my classes are considered a safe space for queer folk, and with the growing dangers to trans lives happening at a rapid pace in the U.S.A. – that is growing within Canada, too – I knew I had to do something to support the trans humans in our community,” she said.

Trans Lifeline is a non-profit, grassroots hotline that offers direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis. The hotline was started in 2014 in response to the epidemic of trans suicides and inspired by the Trans Day of Remembrance, founded in 1999 to memorialize the murder of Black transgender women Rita Hester and Chanelle Pickett.

One service offered by Trans Lifeline is microgrants, providing trans and nonbinary people with low-barrier funds for correcting names and/or gender markers on identifying legal documents, supplying necessities to incarcerated trans individuals and gender-affirming hair removal microgrants for people experiencing transmisogyny.

Small Wolf chose the organization in light of growing anti-trans legislation in the United States. On May 17, for instance, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed bills to ban gender-affirming care for minors, restrict pronoun use in schools and force people to use the bathroom corresponding with their sex assigned at birth in some cases.

A March 2023 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that “LGBTQI+ youth are resilient and can thrive when they are supported and affirmed, but that pervasive discrimination, rejection, and bullying of LGBTQI+ youth has led to a nationwide mental health crisis.”

“I wanted to fundraise for an organization that could help with the active crisis in the U.S.A. against trans lives, as well as still help our trans community in Canada,” Small Wolf said.

“I myself am not trans, so I can’t say I’ve personally felt the effects of transphobia in the city, but I’ve seen it,” said Small Wolf. “Whether it’s small microaggressions or full-on verbal assaults in the streets, Victoria is not free of transphobia. It’s important for the trans community to have a safe place where they feel heard and understood by their peers, and pointed to both local and federal resources to help them that they may have not known existed previously.”

The fundraiser show will be a split of drag and burlesque entertainment, inspired by summer camp experiences. Performers include Maverick, Pacific Blue and Peaches & Screams.

“I know a handful of queer kids that have had negative experiences with summer camps, with unfortunately many of them being ‘pray-the-gay-away’ camps. This show feels like a moment of reclamation for them to enjoy the fun and adventure of camp, but this time on their own terms in a safe and supportive environment.”

Tickets for SUMMER CAMP, June 17, are $33.28 (including fees) and available at eventbrite.ca.

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