Drag queens to hold border wall protest at Hope Park - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Drag queens to hold border wall protest at Hope Park

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Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 10:30 am

Drag queens from around the Rio Grande Valley will gather in Brownsville on Saturday to raise funds for LGBTQ asylum seekers and protest border wall construction. Money collected at the Hope Park event, which begins at 5 p.m., will be donated to nonprofit groups that assist immigrants.

Beatrix Lestrange, a Brownsville drag queen and activist, said she selected Hope Park as the location for the No Border Wall Protest Drag Show because of its close proximity to the border fence. Tips collected by performers will be donated to Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, known more commonly as RAICES, and Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas.

“The main goal is to use drag, art and performance to kind of contrast the negative rhetoric, the fake crisis and all the stuff that’s being projected on the border communities,” she said, “and (highlight) the injustices LGBT people face when seeking asylum.”

Lestrange noted the case of Camila Díaz Córdova, a transgender woman from El Salvador who traveled to the U.S. seeking asylum. She was deported last year and died Feb. 3 of injuries following an attack, the Washington Blade reported.

Last year, a transgender woman died in ICE custody in Albuquerque after being hospitalized with “symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV,” the Associated Press reported.

Dolores “Lolita” LaVey, a drag queen from Edinburg, said LGBTQ people who are seeking asylum don’t have the same advantages as those in the United States. They face oppression not only from their government but also from their communities, she said.

“I identified very much with the asylum seekers because I come from family where … they don’t necessarily know what being a trans person is,” LaVey said.

That’s because LaVey identifies as nonbinary, she said, and does not closely identify with the male or female gender. It’s similar to Oaxaca’s muxe people, LaVey explained, who can be seen as a third gender.

“They’re trying to escape all this violence cast upon them, and that’s something I see myself going through if I wasn’t from America,” she said. “As a person that’s HIV positive, I’m more than sure some of these people are positive and have no help from their government. We need to help them with treatment and anything we can. I think it’s definitely a crisis for them.”

LaVey said that in addition to monetary donations, attendees can drop off hygiene items such as menstrual products and deodorant. The supplies will be distributed to asylum- seeking immigrants through the humanitarian aid group Angry Tías & Abuelas.

Brownsville drag queen Aeon Mavis York also will be among the performers at Hope Park and said she got onboard as soon as Lestrange put out a call for entertainers to participate.

“I feel like people are so not expecting the LGBTQ (community) or drag queens in general to be part of something like this,” she said. “Be ready to expect a lot of unity and love and support for our fellow sisters and brothers. Every single, five dollars, two dollars, quarters, pennies — all of that will help. Trust.”

Learn more about the protest on its Facebook event page titled “No Border Wall / Protest Drag Show.”

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