One of our lovely locals has been putting on fabulous shows during lock-down, from the first ever SICKENING back in March, a little bit of Eurovision, a tribute to Drag Idol and most recently an all-king edition. To say they’ve all been amazing would be an understatement, we’ve had so much fun watching a range of great performers showcase their talents. On Friday 29th May (from 7pm BST), SICKENING is dedicated to raising funds for Rainbow Home – a very worthy and important cause that is very close to the heart of the LGBTQI+ community. Let’s learn a little more shall we?
BWD: Firstly, can we get a quick introduction to yourself for anyone who doesn’t know you?
Choriza: Hola! I’m Choriza May, Spanish queen based in Newcastle. I’m known for my political performances with a comedy twist and I’m the host of SICKENING Online Cabaret.
BWD: What is SICKENING?
Choriza: Sickening is an online drag cabaret, it happens on Instagram Live as we want to promote local queens online presence. We launched the cabaret before lock down was announced in response to some close friends who work part time or full time in drag losing their jobs. I wanted to create a platform that would bring them some sort of income and the response from the public was amazing. We raised over £1000 that have been given to local performers not only in the UK, but also Europe and America! The situation since then has changed, most of these performers have regular jobs now and other sources of income, so we decided to make SICKENING a charity event to support organisations that are struggling at the moment. For this one we’ll be donating all the money to RAINBOW HOMES NE.
BWD: How did you narrow it down to these amazing performers?
Choriza: That has been a real challenge every time we’ve done a show. I really wanted to have as many kinds of drag represented in this show, also people from different cities and countries. Once of the good things about online shows is that you can work with people from everywhere, there is not boundaries, so I thought it’d be a great opportunity to mix local performers with non-local performers to get Newcastle drag scene a bit more out there! But for this one as the charity is local to the North East we decided to have a full line up of local performers!
FAUX KING DIK
THE VELVET SNATCH
TONI THE DOLL
HOUSE OF CUNNY
BWD: How do people donate to this fantastic cause?
Choriza: You can donate through our ko-fi account: ko-fi.com/sickening
And now let’s hear a little from the wonderful Danielle Stone – one of the board members at the wonderful and super important Rainbow Home!
BWD: What does the Rainbow Home charity do?
Danielle Stone: We support LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum in the UK because it isn’t safe in their own countries. We help them settle into life in the North East, ensuring they have the basic necessities to live, and also support them through the asylum process, which often involves trying to prove your sexuality or gender identity to the home office.
BWD: Where are your members from?
Danielle Stone: They come from all over the world, but currently we have members from Uganda, Gambia, Nigeria, Iraq and Sri Lanka. Many have fled some pretty tough situations in countries where same-sex relationships or being trans means persecution, jail-time and even torture and abuse. The culture for LGBTQI+ people in these countries is really toxic.
BWD: How has lock-down affected the people you help?
Danielle Stone: They have been through a lot and can feel quite isolated so the lock-down situation isn’t great for their mental health. People who have arrived recently don’t have much of a support network so the fact that we can’t be there for them is really tough.
BWD: What about the charity itself?
Danielle Stone: Competition for funding is really fierce and, frustratingly, LGBTQ refugees tend not to gain much support. We want to make sure we’re still there for our members in the future so we’re doing all we can to raise awareness and funding.
BWD: What else are you doing during lock-down to help raise funds?
Danielle Stone: We’re really excited about the Sickening event and are so chuffed that local drag queens and kings are giving up their time to support our cause. We’re also doing a Virtual Freedom Run for people who are getting active during lock-down.
BWD: How does the Virtual Freedom Run work?
Danielle Stone: It’s a bit ambitious – but we’re asking people to record how much they run/walk/cycle from now until the end of June and we’re hoping to reach the length of the equator (40,000km!). There’s a £15 entry fee and that’s where the fundraising comes in.
BWD: How can people get involved?
Danielle Stone: You can enter here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/virtualfreedomrun and don’t forget to register if you want to be eligible for a medal. Then just record all the activity you do and hopefully we’ll reach our goal whilst raising funds. Oh and donations without the exercise are welcome too!