Trust in honour of Carmen to launch
SYDNEY: Just over a year following the sad passing of Kiwi and Australian transgender icon, Carmen Rupe, a foundation created in her name to help improve the lives and visibility of transgender people and others facing disenfranchisement will be officially launched at a cocktail party at Darlinghurst later this month.
Oxford Street’s Slide Lounge will play host to the official launch of the Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust (CRMT) on February 26 with a who’s who of trans performers and drag stars lined up for the eagerly anticipated event.
X-Factor star Paige Phoenix will be joined by the glamorous diva, Christy McNicol, while guests can also expect to be entertained by the likes of Stryker Meyer, Miss 3D, Koko D’vyne, Sandy Bottom, Del Williams, Gaynor Tension, Stephen Carrington, Capture and more.
The event, an official part of this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras festival, comes on the back of the CRMT’s involvement at Mardi Gras Fair Day earlier this month as well as at the Queer Thinking forum at the Seymour Centre over the weekend.
Drag performer D’vyne told SX many in the community owed it to Carmen and others of her generation for fighting for equality and the right to live their lives with dignity at a time when persecution was so common and relentless.
“Long before there was Mardi Gras, decades before there was a gay rights movement, there were people like Carmen – standing tall in the face of adversity, choosing to live authentically regardless of the consequences - stretching the boundaries of social convention in the process,” she said.
“It’s their courage and determination that paved the way for all of us.”
Phoenix – a transman who has been in much demand since appearing on The X-Factor in 2011 as the television show’s first out transgender contestant – told SX he was “really looking forward” to working with CRMT to help realise Carmen’s vision of an ever more unified and healthy community.
“Carmen’s story, her courage in the face of such adversity back in the 50’s and 60’s is so incredibly important, not only in its potential to inspire others to believe in their own capacity to achieve great things despite the odds but also the potential good which the CRMT can achieve in Carmen’s name,” he said.
Kelly Glanney, who heads the CRMT advisory committee, told SX that Carmen’s larger-than-life persona also belied a maternal figure, who was always willing to help others through her activism and advocacy, business connections or charity work.
“In honouring Carmen's memory we celebrate not just her celebrity, but her tenacity, courage and human dignity in not only surviving but thriving during much harsher times than these,” she said.
“Carmen’s success and public profile during the 60's, 70's and 80's, broke down social barriers and provided a beacon of hope to many.”
The CRMT will also have a float at this year’s Mardi Gras Parade which it is hoped will build on last year’s popular ‘Carmen Sea of Love’ float.
CRMT Launch, 7.30pm, Tuesday, February 26, at Slide Lounge, Darlinghurst. Tickets $40-$80.
For tickets or more information, visit www.carmenrupe.org or http://www.mardigras.org.au/events/carmen-rupe-memorial-trust/