Mixtape: A Trans and Queer Showcase, 9 p.m. March 4 at Tritone, 1508 South St., will raise money and awareness for Legalize Trans*, which launched last summer.
The party will feature 14 performers, including The Liberty City Kings’ Notorious OMG, Good Asian Driver’s Kit Yan and poet Wordz, as well as several drag, spoken-word and burlesque artists.
Co-organizer Joe Ippolito said the event seeks to raise $1,000 for Legalize Trans* and, more importantly, enhance the trans community’s visibility.
“There’s a lot of discussion in the grassroots trans community about wanting to move away from the LGB community because of a lack of inclusion and support around trans causes from the larger LGB community,” Ippolito said. “So with this event, we really want to drive home the idea that we’re here too and we’ve supported the causes of the larger community for so many years and we really need that same support.”
Trans activist Asher Kolieboi began the Legalize Trans* initiative in August, offering an array of T-shirts and buttons carrying the trans-centered logo, a response to American Apparel’s Legalize Gay merchandise line.
“It started off just as a project, a top-surgery fundraiser, but it’s really grown,” Kolieboi said. “I’d seen the Legalize Gay shirts but I thought that something needs to be done that’s more inclusive of queer or trans people. And the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve gotten so many e-mails and letters and Facebook messages from not just trans people but allies, parents, siblings, partners.”
Mixtape hopes to also draw in support from that ally community.
“I think gender presentation is something that affects all people in our society, in particular the LGB community, with women who may present as more masculine and men who present more effeminate,” Ippolito said. “This is something that impacts all of us and supporting individuals who are challenging those ideas further is really important, and I think it can be a real education opportunity as well. The LGB community can start to see and learn more about all of the great things the trans community is doing here in Philadelphia.”
Ippolito noted the list is continuously growing.
He said Philadelphia is quickly becoming a small Mecca for transgender individuals, many of whom move to the city to transition because of its central location and affordability, and often stay because of the opportunities and resources.
“I think the Mazzoni Center and their involvement in putting on the Trans-Health Conference each year has really put Philadelphia on the map in terms of trans-related issues. And we have the Transhealth Information Project, which is the first and only trans organization that’s solely run by trans people for trans people. So there’s a lot of attraction here for this community.”
Mixtape co-organizer Jess Kalup noted, however, that the progress and accomplishments of the transgender community don’t receive the attention they should, an oversight the event hopes to rectify.
“In general there aren’t very many positive displays and representations of trans folks,” she said. “It’s mostly transphobia on the news or on television; the media likes to sensationalize the community, especially trans women and trans people of color. Legalize Trans* was founded by a trans-masculine Liberian, and with this organization and with Mixtape, where a lot of the performers are trans people of color, that’s actually valued. This event doesn’t look at the community as statistics but as talented performers and artists.”
Ippolito said that while the performers all offer their own unique brand of entertainment, the lineup also reflects the diversity of the LGBT and ally communities.
“We have a really diverse group of people performing. We wanted to have a lot of different communities represented, so we have trans women, trans men, gender-queer individuals, people of color — just a real mix, and that’s what we were hoping for. We wanted to show the diversity of this community’s supporters and the diversity needed to move forward.”
There is a suggested $5-$10 cover for the event.
For more information on Legalize Trans*, visit www.legalizetrans.com.
Jen Colletta can be reached at email@example.com.