As a part of the Borderland Pride Week lineup, From the Grind Up is hosting a weekend kick-off reception on July 13 called “Fort Fabulous Friday," during which a "drag show” will take place.
Borderland Pride co-chair Douglas Judson said it's a great networking opportunity for those in the LGBTQ2 community.
“It's a chance for LGBTQ2-identifying area residents or visitors and allies to connect,” Judson enthused.
“It's open to anyone and for all ages to come, connect, and make new friends.”
In conjunction with the event is entertainment that will be provided by four different “drag” performers.
“We're pretty excited about that and the community's first exposure to drag as a performance medium,” Judson remarked.
“It should be a really good time.”
For those unfamiliar with “drag,” it's when a person who typically is male dresses in hyper-feminized or gender non-conforming clothing and puts on a performance with exaggerated femininity for the purpose of entertainment.
Some people do drag for self expression while others enjoy the performance medium, Judson noted.
“Drag itself has historically been linked with LGBTQ2 culture because it's a way to make cultural statements, and to creatively challenge gender norms and gender identity norms,” he explained.
“So in that way it's become a very fun cultural statement but also a source of entertainment in gay villages around the world.”
Judson is happy to see Borderland Pride's hard work manifest into so many community-supported events this week.
“I think that this has been a pretty big moment for our community this past week,” he enthused.
“I can imagine a time not too long ago when even people who are perhaps our strongest allies today would think that the week we have planned would be unthinkable,” he added.
“Our community has come so far in celebrating diversity, and signalling its inclusion and acceptance to queer families and to LGBTQ2 young people.”
Judson also said he's blown away by the level of support “Pride Week” has received from the community so far.
“It's been really inspiring to see all these different people and organizations come forward,” he lauded.
“You go down Scott Street and I think just about every other business has something in their window, and that's been really wonderful.”
Moving forward, Judson would encourage all area residents to come out to the “drag show” and other Pride events this week.
“These events are open to everyone and we sincerely mean that," he stressed. "We have planned a program that is, I think, very family-oriented.”
Although Borderland Pride is happy to be hosting the event at “The Grind,” the group is aware it's a smaller space and stresses those who attend need to be there by 8 p.m. to ensure entry.
“From the Grind Up is a great local venue but it's also a snug and intimate,” Judson conceded.
"We do anticipate a full house for this event and we do encourage people to come on time to ensure that they can get in.
“We're going to do our best but obviously we have to be compliant with the various licenses of the venue,” he stressed.
Judson also said this isn't the only opportunity for people to be exposed to “drag" during "Pride Week.”
“On Sunday, we have a 'Drag Queen Story Time' taking place at the library starting at 1:30 [p.m.],” he noted.
“At that event, one of our drag performers will be presenting a children's story, following which we will do a craft together.”
As well, Judson is encouraging area residents to engage in any of the Pride resources available to the community.
“We have an LGBTQ2 history exhibit at From the Grind Up all week,” he said.