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Queens, kings and burlesque - oh, my!

Help break down the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS this Saturday at Loplops
2017-09-16 Paris Gore JK
William Armstrong as Paris Gore. Jeff Klassen/SooToday
Some things are more important than international borders. To William Armstrong and his drag family, the House of Gore, one of those things is breaking the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. A personal issue for Armstrong, he and his friends have organized a benefit drag/burlesque show this Saturday, Feb. 10, at 9 p.m. at Loplops. All proceeds will be donated to HARP, the HIV/AIDS Resource Program at the Group Health Centre. 

Co-hosted by Canadian William Armstrong as Paris Gore, and American Zack Major as Vanity LaRougé, performers include frequent headliners from Zim’s in Sault, Mich. such as drag queens It’s Just Crystal, Kelly From Accounting and Lavender Scare, drag kings Ace Phoenix, and Leo Del Crooner, as well as Sault Ont. burlesque dancer Lou Lou Leggs. 

Aside from an evening filled with drag and burlesque performances, one of the highlights of the show will be a speech from special guest David Cartner. A one-time radio personality who hails from Sault Ont., Cartner moved to Toronto in the 1980s at the height of the AIDS crisis. 

Given the current political climate including the recent news that US President Donald Trump has fired all members of the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council, the timing couldn’t be more poignant for the Twin Saults to join efforts for the cause. 

"The stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS continues to this day. As performers, we have the opportunity to shatter that. You can live a normal life. And when you’re properly treated and your viral load reaches undetectable levels, the latest research indicates that you can no longer pass on the virus. This is still a serious disease but with education and awareness we can end it. When I was first diagnosed I felt the shame that many people in my situation do, until my mother said to me, ‘Talking about it is the cure’."

The Scarlet Affair is this Saturday, Feb. 10, 9 p.m., at Loplops. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5 from Shabby Motley, Planetary Pride, Amore FYP, and Loplops. Admission is $10 at the door.