What you missed at our Nashville drag fundraiser for ViVE 2023
We at Ash Wellness strive to support our mission (“inclusive and accessible healthcare for all”) in tangible ways, and we love a fabulous party. When we heard the Tennessee state legislature had passed a ban on gender-affirming healthcare for minors the same month we’d be in Nashville for ViVE 2023, we knew we had to act.
This is the same state legislature that passed a drag ban (now temporarily halted as a free speech violation) that could put performers away for up to six years. Cue Get off the Ban Wagon! A Drag Fundraiser for Trans Healthcare, brought to ViVE after-hours by Ash Wellness, HLTH Foundation, Mistr, and Inclusion Tennessee. We came together to raise funds for transgender youth to travel out of state to receive gender-affirming healthcare this summer.
Transgender Healthcare Ban
The bill in question halts children from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapies or surgical procedures in Tennessee as soon as July 1. Youth not receiving medical care by July 1, 2023 will be unable to begin receiving care in Tennessee. Minors who already receive gender-affirming care will be forced to de-transition unless they can travel out of state before summer. All gender-affirming care, even transitional care off hormones, stops March 31, 2024.
Our event started at 7:30pm, but at 6:45pm Mistr models — shirtless models with stethoscopes! — ushered fundraiser attendees from the Pride @ ViVE event to an outdoor pickup location. From there, the Big Drag Bus shuttled folks to Tribe in downtown Nashville. This nightclub on wheels featured two bonus drag shows with several extraordinary queens. We prioritized seating for the media, but any attendees were welcome to board.
Tribe in Nashville is a gay-friendly bar with their own set of wonderful drag performers. Attendees exited the bus and received two free drink tickets at the door (additional drinks could be purchased from the bartender). Speakers from Ash Wellness as well as Inclusion Tennessee and Mistr welcomed attendees and explained more about the trans healthcare ban in Tennessee. Attendees enjoyed two drag shows that evening, one at 8pm and another at 9.
This event also featured parents of transgender children speaking on how the ban will impact families like theirs. Between the drag shows, Phil Cobucci from Inclusion Tennessee moderated a panel with the parents. We offered the media an opportunity to connect with them during or after the event.
None of this would have been possible without the help of our event partners HLTH Foundation, Inclusion Tennessee, and Mistr. The HLTH foundation provided much needed ViVE conference support, including promotion and marketing. Inclusion Tennessee acted as our “man on the ground” in Nashville and connected us to Tribe, our speakers, the Big Drag Bus, and an emergency transgender healthcare fund. The Mistr team provided us with logistics help, funds, and, of course, support of the famous Mistr models.
Our team raised 11k at the event, including a 3K matching from HLTH Foundation.
Ready to partner
Switch on at-home diagnostics today for your business or organization.