Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 20 / 18 May 2017
 

Queer youth benefit
set for Mission High

NEWS


Queens of the Castro will perform at a benefit for LGBTQ youth. Photo: Fabian Echevarria Photography
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A colorful collection of people will don drag in order to show LGBTQ youth that high school doesn't have to be a drag. The evening, which will include an after-party hosted by Heklina at Oasis, is to teach high schoolers the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity, to raise awareness, and to promote acceptance.

The event comes courtesy of Queens of the Castro, a group of gay male drag queens who work closely with high schools and youth organizations. The Queens offer performances in which they spread their message.

Taica Hsu, a math teacher at Mission High School, is also known as Honda Hybrid, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Hsu is a founding member of the Queens of the Castro and an organizer of "High School is a Drag: But It Doesn't Have to Be," the Queens' upcoming performance at Mission High School Saturday, April 25.

Mission High teachers and students will take to the stage together.

Hsu, 31, told the Bay Area Reporter that his coming out was simple and relatively easy.

"I came out my first year of college to some of my closest friends," he recalled. "They were extremely supportive, and by my sophomore year, I was fully out and started spending time with other LGBTQ-identified students."

Hsu said that he got similar support from his mom and sister, but not from his dad.

"My dad still refuses to acknowledge my sexual orientation," he said. "He told me to 'make the right decisions' for years, which was his way of saying 'be straight.'"

Queens of the Castro, Hsu said, has its roots in a drag show assembly that Hsu put together at Mission High for Pride Month.

"My friends Mitch, Gabe and Ben, who are also drag queens, started to help out at the event," he said, referring to Mitch Laffins, Gabriel McClelland, and Benjamin Rodriguez. "Through the shared experience, we decided that all schools should have a similar celebration that creates a safer environment for LGBTQ students and teachers."

A few years later they implemented a scholarship program for LGBTQ senior students who have shown a commitment to creating safe spaces in their high schools.

Hsu said that the Queens try to raise $10,000-$20,000 per year in order to give away as many scholarships as possible. They also raise money for gay-straight alliances at schools – Hsu runs the Mission High gay-straight alliance.

The show promises to be quite an extravaganza, complete with song and dance numbers performed by a variety of people, including contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race.

"Previous student scholarship winners will be honored, and teachers and students from SFUSD will also perform," Hsu said. "There will also be a silent auction, which will benefit the scholarship fund."

 

The show takes place from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Mission High School, 3750 18th Street. Tickets are $25-$50 and are available online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1148922. For information, visit http://www.queensofthecastro.com.






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