search SGN
Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

click to go to click to visit advertiser's website





 
Cost of the
War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
click to go to advertisers website
 
Gay Bingo hostess
Gay Bingo hostess
Lifelong's executive director speaks to SGN

by Liz Meyer - SGN Staff Writer

Glamazonia, the long-time hostess of Lifelong AIDS Alliance's wildly popular Gay Bingo, will not be back.

Lifelong AIDS Alliance (LLAA) employed the larger-than-life drag queen, a.k.a. Thom Hubert, for seven years on a contractual basis, and decided this week not to renew his services for next year.

In a phone interview, LLAA's Executive Director, David Richart, said his organization's decision was not made in response to the belief that Glamazonia might offend people, nor, as some have speculated, was it made to appease some of LLAA's more conservative sponsors.

"We're not pointing at what was done at the show," said Richart. "He did a great job at the show. This was about more behind the scenes type of stuff. This is more about looking forward than looking back. It's more about the policy."

"Each year we have met with Thom to negotiate a contract for the upcoming year," Richart said this week in an open letter to the Lifelong community. "This year our 'official' negotiations started on October 11, though staff had a number of conversations with Thom throughout the year regarding his role as host. In the end, Lifelong decided to end the negotiations. Throughout the process Lifelong listened to Thom's requests regarding Gay Bingo, however there were a few areas that we, as an organization, couldn't overlook - primarily Thom's refusal to adhere to our harassment policy as it relates to his treatment of our staff and volunteers."

"Our harassment policy covers all Lifelong employees, volunteers, board members, donors, and contractors with aim to create 'an atmosphere where there is respect for all human dignity.' We had asked him to treat our staff and volunteers with dignity. Thom didn't feel that "GLAM" could adhere to the policy."

The decision has left a throng of Glamazonia's fans, and the hostess herself, crying, " 'O no!"

In a blog on her Myspace page entitled, "Gay Bingo, or 'O sixty-NEIN!", Glamazonia writes, "First off, I want to thank (AGAIN X'S 1000) all of you who have sent messages of love and support to me over this mess. Some of you I know, many I don't - but it's been altogether humbling to know that my leaving Bingo will have such an impact on so many."

She continues, "What bothers me about it [the letter LLAA sent out in response to Glamazonia's dismissal] is Dave's statements: '...there were a few areas that we, as an organization, couldn't overlook - primarily Thom's refusal to adhere to our harassment policy as it relates to his treatment of our staff and volunteers,' and, '...We had asked him to treat our staff and volunteers with dignity. Thom didn't feel that 'GLAM' could adhere to the policy."

"Dave Richart and those who know me, know this is bull. From our first meeting on October 11 when the policy was first brought to my attention, I asked for Lifelong's help in interpreting it to suit an entertainment environment vs. office/workplace for which it is intended. Not to say that treating people with respect and dignity doesn't translate to the Bingo stage, but in terms of the wording of the policy, 'acting in a flirtatious manner, making sexual remarks, gestures, etc...' I needed to know how vigorously these guidelines would apply to GLAM, what the consequences might be, etc. I ASKED to go through the same sexual harassment training that all regular Lifelong employees had gone through (I was on contract) so that I would be on the same page as the rest of the organization and equally equipped to handle/recognize/assess potentially troublesome situations that might hurt the organization. We ended this meeting agreeing to come together again after I'd had a chance to review everything more thoroughly."

Glamazonia ends her first of two blog entries in response to the Bingo situation by asking, "If I was that abusive/harassing, then why did they offer me a contract for next season at all?"

Richart responded by saying that LLAA had received complaints about Glamazonia.

"Thom has publicly shared that Lifelong received complaints from sponsors and has made statements that the decision to end our contract was made in large part to his use of two 'four letter words'," Richart writes in the letter. "In part this is true. We have received complaints from sponsors and we take them seriously. We have also received numerous complaints from attendees. But these complaints pale in comparison to the commitment we have as an organization to our volunteers and staff. The decision to end the contract was not about the use of two curse words and political correctness."

"We fully understand the nature of the show, its colorful history and what it calls for from a drag queen to perform. We are fully aware of our roots and our place in the community. In no way is Lifelong trying to 'de-Gay' or 'de-drag' the event. We are working with other drag queens locally, regionally and nationally to fill the wonderful shoes left by Thom."

In the phone interview, Richart said Gay Bingo audiences would get the same show they always have.

"It's not rocket science that you could still have a fun show, and still be edgy, and still have innuendo," said Richart. "What people are forgetting here is that GLAM wasn't the show."

Since its inception, the Gay Bingo series has been a huge money-maker for the organization. The shows, which are held every second Saturday from January through June, routinely sell out at the old Naval Reserve Building on South Lake Union. Of the event, the Seattle P-I wrote last year, "No doubt resident host Glamazonia, a 7-foot-2-inch drag queen (in heels, of course), helps sell tickets."
Film Festival Pictures
Halloween on Capitol Hill
Slide Show


photos by Joey - SGN photographer

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog
post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog


click to visit advertiser's website

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2007