It was cold and blustery outside on a Friday night in Saskatoon last November, but a warm and lively welcome awaited those attending what was dubbed as an “all-ages, family-friendly drag show” at Grosvenor Park United.
The event, called “Take Me to Church,” after a popular song, was a fundraiser for LGBTQ youth in Saskatchewan.
More than 100 people filled the church sanctuary for an evening of lipsynced song, dance and improvised banter between performers. All seven entertainers were dressed to the nines in drag. As they stepped out before the audience, crooning their hearts out, the crowd applauded enthusiastically and lined up throughout the show to give them tips, many presenting the gratuity with an elaborate bow.
The idea started with Grosvenor Park member Fran Forsberg, who was looking for a way to raise money for Camp Caterpillar, a wilderness retreat for gender non-conforming children age seven to 13. Forsberg’s friend Ryan Young, who performs as China White, suggested a drag show.
“I wanted to do it for the camp, and the drag queens wanted to do a fundraiser for the Pride Home,” says Forsberg, referring to a local group home for LGBTQ youth. “So I said, ‘Let’s combine them and split the money.’” The show raised about $2,000. Forsberg now hopes to make it an annual event.
“The performers have such a way of drawing people out and making everybody feel comfortable,” she says. “You could tell it was a first-time drag show for a lot of people. And to have kids come out is really great.”
Forsberg’s daughter Skylar, 13, has been performing in drag since she was six years old. “I love this!” she said of the show.
“It was amazing and really fun to watch,” says Lola Helgason, who attended with friends and family. She says she was especially moved by Jordan Dyck, who, at age 15, made his debut drag performance. “I thought it was very touching. It was nice to see a young individual brave enough to go in front of a bunch of people and sing their heart out.”
This story first appeared in The Observer’s April 2018 edition with the title “Drag queens raise money and awareness.”