Toronto cannabis-culture shop hosts drag-show fundraiser for COVID-19 relief

In 2020, “putting on a drag show” isn’t as simple as finding a venue, recruiting the talent, and selling tickets

drag show

Former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Brooke Lynn Hytes (left) and ex-pro hockey player Brock McGillis are the hosts of the virtual drag show.

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A drag show may not cure all ills, but it sure can’t hurt.

There’s no question that every sector of society has felt the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-running Toronto bookstore Glad Day is making an effort to help out one particular group of people close to its heart, namely the city’s LGBTQ community.

Toward that end, Glad Day has launched an emergency fund. That fund will assist members of the community and also allow Glad Day itself to keep operating.

As the fund’s web page explains:

A huge number of queer and trans people rely on revenue that can’t be traced back to an employer, so financial supports for businesses and employers will not help us. Many of us will face a crisis before government help arrives. Artists, performers, sex workers, tip-based workers – these are just some of the people who are are experiencing a swift and brutal loss of income. On top of that, many LGBTQ2S people are not supported by their family of origin and have a weak financial support network.

To help raise money for the Glad Day Lit Emergency Survival Fund, cannabis retailer Friendly Stranger—which recently opened its flagship store in the heart of T.O.’s Gay Village—is putting on a drag show.

This being 2020, “putting on a drag show” isn’t as simple as finding a venue, recruiting the talent, and selling tickets. The action has moved online, for what organizers have billed as a Digital Drag Show.

A dozen queens

Brooke Lynn Hytes (from Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the upcoming Drag Race Canada) and Brock McGillis (the first openly gay pro hockey player) will host the show. A dozen queens—including Boa the Drag Queen, Lucy Flawless, Baby Bel Bel, Juice Boxx, and Sofonda Cox—will perform.

“Community and advocacy have been cornerstones of the Friendly Stranger brand since 1994 when our original cannabis accessory store opened on Toronto’s Queen Street West. With the recent launch of our flagship cannabis retail store at 501 Church Street we wanted to find a way to give back to the Village community and figured with pride month what better way to do that than celebrating one of the aspects of what makes this neighborhood so vibrant and unique,” Friendly Stranger president James Jesty said in a press release. “We are thrilled to partner with Brock, Brooke, and 12 of Toronto’s most exceptional Queens to help raise funds for the members of the Village community who have lost work due to COVID-19.”

The drag show goes live on Tuesday (June 16) at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST, and will be available for viewing on Friendly Stranger’s website for 30 days afterwards.

For more details, and to make a donation, visit the Digital Drag Show’s GoFundMe page.

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