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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 22, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 21
ICON benefit for Seattle Counseling Service sold out at W Seattle
Section One
ALL STORIES
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ICON benefit for Seattle Counseling Service sold out at W Seattle

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

ICON, the annual gala celebration and fundraiser (that is actually fun to go to) hosted by Seattle drag legend Aleksa Manila on behalf of Seattle Counseling Service came early this year - May 17 at the W Hotel in Downtown Seattle. In the past, the event has been held in October, but Aleksa Manila and SCS leadership decided there was quite enough happening in October so they moved the gala to May - which only gave organizers seven months between the May 17 event and the previous ICON in 2014.

The great news is they sold every single ticket they had and the audience had a blast. SCS has not yet reported back on just how much ICON XI - A Celebration of Drag, Art and Life netted the mental health and chemical dependency organization exclusive to the LGBTQ community since 1965; however, an announcement will be made shortly, say officials.

The talent roster is always the main draw for the event, which this year included Atasha Manila, Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse, Anastacia Beaverhausen, Miss Indigo Blue, Shanghai Pearl, Jaylene Tyme, Isaac Scott, and Latrina Bidet on the main stage during the dinner and dessert portion of the evening, while Sister Siren and Brian Buck performed for all of the VIP arrivals earlier in the evening.

Sponsors for the event included 1st Security Bank, Swedish, Seattle Meds, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Group Health, Amerigroup Real Solutions, Chateau Ste Michelle, iSOutsource, Seattle Gay News and Seattle Gay Scene.

The event's in-kind donors included Atomic Cosemetics, Babeland, Banya's Urban Spa, Chateau Ste Michelle, Cherry Street Coffee, The Dog Resort, Pagliacci Pizza, Panache, The Pine Box, Salon 7, and Sugar Pill Apothecary.

Throughout the evening several people spoke about SCS and what it means to them and the community. Among the speakers were Rev. Darrell Goodwin, Dean of Students at Seattle University, who spoke about his fears as a closeted Gay black man who had newly arrived in the city and his journey to find himself which began when he went to SCS for guidance and counseling over a decade ago. Rev. Goodwin also hosted the 'ask' of the evening.

The highlight, however, happened when Steven Griffith gave personal testimony about the life he once thought could never be for him - successful, happy, and healthy - and how he now lives his truth every day because of the counseling, patience, and professional help provided to him by SCS so he could free himself from crystal meth addiction and alcohol abuse. His vulnerable speech was met with tears by the audience and a nearly 5 minutes, sustained standing ovation.

Seattle Counseling Service is a community based organization that has been dedicated to promoting health and wellness within the LGBTQ community for 45 years and that remains committed to providing accessible services, offering a sliding fee scale in addition to accepting Medicaid and many insurance plans. For more information visit www.seattlecounselingservice.org.

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