The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Alliance’s second annual Big Queer Talent Show was a night of singing, spoken-word, music, fundraising and impromptu haircuts at Queens College.
The Nov. 8 event in the Patio Room collected donations for the Ali Forney Center in Manhattan, which has been deemed uninhabitable after Hurricane Sandy struck on Oct. 30.
The Forney Center helps thousands of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youths and provides shelter, food, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, mental health and substance abuse services. Once GLASA learned of the damage caused by the hurricane, they turned their talent show into a fundraiser.
“Their main drop-in center — which is the main point of entry for all of their programs — was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy,” GLASA President Samantha Nathanson said. “There was water 4-feet high, all of their equipment was destroyed and everything was just gone in the drop-in center. They can’t function without that place, so we started the fundraiser.”
GLASA’s main goal was to raise at least $300, with the promise of a surprise event once that goal was met. While people made donations throughout the night, nearly 30 performers showed their support and took their talent to the stage. Many people chose to sing original songs or read poems that they wrote.
There were also items sold at auction, such as a pair of personalized GLASA sunglasses. Several people also auctioned themselves to the highest bidder. In one instance, two students auctioned themselves for a “trate” — a triple date in which three separate bidders were able to pool their money and each win a day with them.
Once the goal of $300 was met, the mystery event was revealed. Nathanson volunteered to have her hair shaved off in front of the entire room.
“It was all for charity,” Nathanson said. “It was part of the event, we raised a certain amount of money and we promised something crazy would happen.”
Impressed with the quality of Nathanson’s buzz cut, several students decided to get haircuts, as well. By the end of the night GLASA managed to raise $350 for the center.