Photo collage featuring host and performers at the 2023 Black Trans Comedy Showcase.

Lavender Rights Project Centers Black Trans Joy at Second Annual Comedy Showcase

by Victor Simoes

For their second annual Black Trans Comedy Showcase fundraiser on June 10, Lavender Rights Project (LRP) is going even bigger than in their first edition. With a stellar lineup of performers and comedians, the event hosted by activist and reality TV star T.S. Madison will showcase trans magic and laughter in a space dedicated to building community and learning how to protect Black trans lives. 

“We’ll be using this night to send out Black trans joy and highlight our mission to disrupt systems of oppression, stop violence against Black trans women and femmes, and ultimately liberate us all,” said Angel Patterson, development associate at LRP. 

The evening’s lineup of entertainers highlights local performers as well as artists shaping the greater entertainment industry. The stars of the night are Mx. Dahlia Belle, a Portland-based comedian who is returning to the Annual Comedy Showcase stage for the second time, K.J. Whitehead, sometimes called the queen of radical comedy, and Beyonce Black St. James, a Seattle drag performer closing the bill. 

“The comedy that you can expect from our comedians and anybody that gets up on that stage is just a roast on trans misogyny, homophobia, all the phobias, and just really getting genuine comedic tales of the trans experience,” said Patterson. “So it’s going to be very well-rounded.”

Amy Heart, communications and grant manager at LRP, pointed out that this year has been the toughest year on record regarding anti-trans legislation, and it’s currently on track to be one of the deadliest years on record for trans people, so creating a space to laugh, connect, and celebrate Black trans lives is more important than ever. The event also allows allies to show up and do something tangible: “putting their money where their mouth is.”

Beyond contributing by attending the event, attendees can make donations and participate in a raffle. Prizes include two sets of Alaska Airlines vouchers, tickets to see Jinkx Monsoon at the Paramount Theatre, Seahawks game tickets, and a new patient certificate from LRP’s Tacoma neighbors Marconi’s Chiropractic & Wellness.

The fundraiser event is LRP’s biggest income-generating event of the year. The ticket sales play a significant role in helping them meet their goals and support programs that protect the Black trans community in King County and across Washington. This year’s venue, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, will have five times the capacity of last year’s. 

LRP is a grassroots organization that works with Black and Indigenous trans people to offer various social services, including legal representation and housing support. In April, LRP announced they had been selected to be an operator for the King County Health Through Housing’s newest project. This 35-unit building will provide permanent housing for King County’s LGBTQIA+ community experiencing homelessness and house insecurity. 

The Comedy Showcase started as a way to take a stand against transphobic attacks in the media and anti-trans legislature countrywide, creating a space to highlight Black trans lives, showcase their talent, share laughs, and raise funds for LRP. 

The Lavender Rights Project internal staff leadership council at the Black Trans Advocacy Conference earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of the Lavender Rights Project.)

Hostess of the event, T.S. Madison, is a trans rights advocate, comedian, influencer, and recently the first Black trans woman ever to have a top 40 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 after being featured on Beyonce’s RENAISSANCE album. Madison met with the LRP internal staff leadership council for the first time last year in San Francisco at the Transgender Cultural District “Riot Block Party,” a neighborhood block party and fundraising event with live music and performances. The LRP internal staff leadership council knew she would fit perfectly into the Comedy Showcase, helping elevate their program even more. “We’re just so humbled, blessed, and honored to have T.S. Madison as our host,” said Randy Ford, development director at the Lavender Rights Project.

LRP explained that they hope attendees stay connected with the organization in the way that it’s best for them, whether as a donor, a connector, or a volunteer. They want everyone to remember at the end of the day, everyone can play a role in fighting for trans collective liberation. 

The Black Trans Comedy Showcase will take place at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian theater on June 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit the Black Trans Comedy Showcase webpage

For more info on how to support Black-led trans orgs, check out the Emerald’s “Guide to Supporting Local and National Trans Community Organizing,” compiled in partnership with LRP.

Victor Simoes is an international student at the University of Washington pursuing a double degree in journalism and photo/media. Originally from Florianópolis, Brazil, they enjoy radical organizing, hyper pop, and their beloved cats. Their writing focuses on community, arts, and culture. You can find them on Instagram or Twitter at @victorhaysser.

📸 Featured Image: This year’s Black Trans Comedy Showcase features (left to right) guest host T.S. Madison, Beyonce Black St. James, Mx. Dahlia Belle, and K.J. Whitehead. (Photo courtesy of Lavender Rights Project.)

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