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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 19, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 33
Joe Torres' LEO Party raises $8,500 for LGBT youth suicide prevention
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Joe Torres' LEO Party raises $8,500 for LGBT youth suicide prevention

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On August 14, longtime Neighbours Seattle bartender Joe Torres held the Eighth Annual LEO Party to benefit OUTLoud - the Youth Suicide Prevention Program's LGBTQ component. The event was a hit and brought in over $8,000 for OUTLoud.

'The money raised will be used to help run the OUTLoud Project,' Heather Carter, OUTLoud project manager, told Seattle Gay News. 'OUTLoud focuses on the risk for suicide, self harm, and depression. It also focuses on bullying and bias-based harassment and the links those experiences have to long-term negative mental health outcomes. We do this through public education and community outreach.'

The birthday celebration and fundraiser was hosted by local drag queens Aleksa Manila and Roxy Doll with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Abbey of St. Joan and featured c89.5 DJs Trent Von, Richard J. Dalton, and Keano Martinez.

The show featured a stellar lineup that included Miss Gay Washington 2011-2012 Taylor Couture, La Gorda, Lady Chablis, Glitter Tribe, Penelope Diaz, Layla Manila, Bianca Starr, Gaysha Starr, and the divas of Neighbours.

'In 2010, youth suicide rates increased dramatically. Specifically, LGBT youth were, unfortunately, the target of bullying that reached national headlines coast to coast,' said Aleksa Manila. 'National and local awareness and fundraising events hit the streets.'

On August 14, with the help of the local LGBT and allied communities, the cause continued.

'The party was a combination of everyone wanting to make it a success and being there to show support for an issue that needs more attention,' Torres told SGN of his birthday party and fundraiser. 'So far, I would have to say it was one of the best LEO parties ever.'

Torres says he is thankful for all of the performers, volunteers, and attendees

'I feel the event was a tremendous success,' said Carter. 'It brought together the community in a time when we are all struggling with how to support the LGBTQ youth in Washington who are faced with the issues of suicide and depression.'

Thankfully, not all LGBTQ youth struggle with these issues - in fact, most don't, she said.

'It is a risk, though, and a much higher risk than their straight-identified peers,' added Carter.

'What better way to bring attention to the issue than a drag show? We can have fun and still support a program that focuses on an issue that is of concern to many of us,' she said. 'I want to thank Joe Torres for his support, Aleksa Manila for being such a fantastic hostess, and all of the performers for everything they do! I also want to thank Seattle Gay News for ensuring that this issue isn't forgotten and for bringing attention to the fact that there is someone in Washington State that is working to support LGBTQ youth in this way.'

For more information about YSPP or to make an online donation, please visit their website at www.yspp.org.

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