Song raising money for trans org drops

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday June 5, 2024
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Musicians and producers have released a song to benefit a Southern LGBTQ nonprofit, including, from left, Julie Wolf, Katie Cash, Vicki Randle, and Nino Moschella. Photo: Courtesy Cedre Csillagi
Musicians and producers have released a song to benefit a Southern LGBTQ nonprofit, including, from left, Julie Wolf, Katie Cash, Vicki Randle, and Nino Moschella. Photo: Courtesy Cedre Csillagi

A song created by musicians with Bay Area ties that will raise funds for a Southern LGBTQ nonprofit will drop June 7 to coincide with Pride Month. It is part of the ongoing A Thousand Pansies initiative launched by Oakland-based tattoo artist Cedre Csillagi, who co-owns Diving Swallow Tattoo.

Csillagi, who is nonbinary, created a special pansy design they aim to have inked on 1,000 people as a way to show support for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals in light of the legislative attacks against their rights. Since the effort launched in October 2022, more than 166 people have gotten the tattoo.

Among them is out Oakland-based musician Katie Cash, who last year discussed with Csillagi creating a song for the tattoo initiative. Csillagi then brought up the idea with their client Nino Moschella, a straight ally who owns recording studio Bird & Egg in Richmond, California.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted last September, Moschella offered to help produce the track. Out musicians Vicki Randle, Dillbilly, and Julie Wolf also came on board. While Randle and Wolf live in the East Bay, Dillbilly now resides in the Midwest.

The five music professionals are all friends and have collaborated on various past projects. Their new song is titled "Already Home" and speaks to finding one's place in the world.

"The creation of 'Already Home' is a testament to the power of art to amplify marginalized voices and foster connection," stated Csillagi. "Each artist brings a unique perspective to the song, enriching its message of love, resilience, and belonging."

The song will be available to download for $1 as part of Bandcamp's monthly First Friday offer, where it waives fees so more money will be able to be raised that day. It will be later added to Spotify and Apple Music at the same purchase price. All proceeds from the sale of the song will go toward Csillagi's fundraising effort benefitting The Knights and Orchids Society, a Black-led LGBTQ services provider based in Selma, Alabama.

The nonprofit's name is an acronym its co-founders came up with that means Knowledgeable Noble Independent Gifted Honorable Tenacious Soldiers (Knights) and Overcoming Racism Classism Heteronormativity and Injustice Down South (Orchids). The tattoo campaign has netted it more than $77,000 to date.

"As someone who strongly believes in the collective healing work of artivism, I think all the ways Cedre has been showing up for all of the trans people in our community is one of the most beautiful examples of artivism at work," stated TC Caldwell, a Black trans nonbinary activist and artist serving as the nonprofit's interim executive director. "We are so grateful to them for their boundless generosity and every single person who has connected with our mission through this initiative."

Twenty tattoo artists in the U.S. and Canada are now signed up to ink Csillagi's pansy design on people in their areas. Those interested must first make a $500 donation to the nonprofit before they can make an appointment with one of the participating tattoo artists.

Csillagi chose the pansy due to the flower's symbolic attachment to the LGBTQ community going back decades. It has been used as a pejorative to denigrate the LGBTQ community and also embraced by queer people as a coded identifier.

Their tattoo initiative also pays homage to The Pansy Project, through which Paul Harfleet of Great Britain plants pansies at sites of homophobic violence, and recalls the "Pansy Craze" in the 1920s and 1930s centered on underground drag balls.

For more information on A Thousand Pansies, the release of "Already Home," and to book a pansy tattoo, click here.

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