SF LGBT Center's Soirée

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday March 28, 2023
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Mr. David Glamamore (front left) led a festive dance number at the 2018 Soirée.
Mr. David Glamamore (front left) led a festive dance number at the 2018 Soirée.

On April 15 the City View at the Metreon will come alive when the San Francisco LGBT Center celebrates its 21st year with its annual Soirée, which promises to be a night to remember. The evening will include a decadent cocktail reception, dinner, and a lively after party. Live entertainment is being organized by Juanita MORE!, with music by DJ LadyRyan. The event will be hosted by community icons Sister Roma and Honey Mahogany.

"We're thrilled to be returning to the Center's grandest fundraising event of the year," Roman and Mahogany wrote in a joint statement to the Bay Area Reporter. "The recent onslaught of politically fueled hate, legislative attacks on our rights, and ongoing challenges stemming from the pandemic have made clear how important it is for us to have a home base like the Center. Soiree raises critical funds for all of the SF LGBT Center's programs and services. We're proud to support the Center's work creating welcoming spaces and people-centered services for those in our community who need them most."

Rebecca Rolfe, the SF LGBT Center's Executive Director  

Supporting services
The Center hopes to raise $300,000 in support of their programs, which includes services for youth experiencing homelessness, unemployed job seekers, and trans, non-binary and BiPOC community members. Rebecca Rolfe, the Center's Executive Director since 2008, spoke to the BAR about some of these programs.

"I'm really proud of what we created for and with our community here at the Center, and it's truly been an honor to be part of building a home that caters to the full spectrum of the LGBTQ community," Rolfe said in a telephone interview. "Getting here has been both daunting and exciting, but I'm really thrilled about what's ahead for us, and we continue to listen and learn."

Rolfe pointed out that the Center has been running a Dedicated Youth Services Program since 2007, a program that serves homeless or marginally-housed youth ages 16-24. Services provided include community building, crisis intervention, as well as educational workshops and access to essentials such as food and hygiene supplies. In 2019 the Center expanded the program to include mental health services and access to housing.

"Those services are available to the literally hundreds of youth experiencing homelessness and isolation each year," she said. "About 65% of the youth in our program identify as trans or gender non-binary, and about the same percentage identify as Black, indigenous, or other people of color."

Rolfe added that not only does the Center offer a general employment program, they developed a specific trans employment program to address the transphobia that transgender job seekers face in both keeping and getting jobs that offer sustainable wages.

"The program has provided invaluable training to Bay Area employers as well," said Rolfe. "So that we're not only helping job seekers seek jobs, but we're working with employers to transform their work places, so they can help their employees be fabulously successful in their roles."

The Center has also created "Queer Vibes," which provides a space for queer performers to build their careers in the music industry and in LGBTQ plus spaces.

Sister Roma and Honey Mahogany (seen at the 2022 Imperial Coronation) will host this year's Soirée (photo: Honey Mahogany/Facebook)  

Hosts with the most
"At the Soirée this year we're having Tory Teasley, one of the very first performers to perform with us through 'Queer Vibes,'" Rolfe said. "She's going to talk about her experiences and what it meant to her to have that platform and how it really helped her to move forward very significantly in her career after participating in 'Queer Vibes.' So she's going to talk about that. It's the intersection of our arts and culture work and our work to support people's financial and economic well being as well."

Rolfe is delighted that Roma and Mahogany will be serving as Soirée hosts.

"They are two iconic community leaders," she said. "They are featured on the mural on the side of our building. So they are clearly incredible leaders in the community and incredible entertainers, so we are really thrilled to have them back on stage as co-hosts this year. And we are really grateful for the unwavering support of the work we do here at the Center as well as the work they do to support so many folks in the community."

Rolfe added that MORE! was in the process of putting together a list of performers for the gala party. Names have not yet been finalized, but announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

DJ LadyRyan (photo: Instagram)  

"The cocktail party is a lovely way to kick off the evening," said Rolfe. "We have a pink carpet leading into the event, very culturally appropriate. We have amazing appetizers, an open bar, a Scotch tasting station, roaming entertainers, and of course we're at the City View Metreon, so there's an incredible sunset of the San Francisco skyline on the deck."

The dinner menu promises to whet the palate, with something for everyone. This year they're offering braised chicken, vegetarian meatballs, and roasted vegetables, among other items. They've been working with the same caterer for years, and Rolfe guarantees that the food will be wonderful.

The after-party, Rolfe promises, will be dazzling. There will be a host of local performers, dancing, and an ice cream sundae bar.

"The Soirée is going to be so much fun," Rolfe said. "It's our grandest celebration of the year and we're excited to celebrate sheer community brilliance. We'd love to see as many folks as possible. It's just a fabulous, fun, super-queer event."

Soirée 2023, April 15, 5:30pm, City View at the Metreon, 135 4th Street, $95-725. www.sfcenter.org

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