‘Stilettos for Shanghai’ for Chechnya
Get ready for a magical evening of entertainment, activism and passionate guest speakers to raise awareness to LGBTQ persecution and build bridges to our brothers and sisters around the world.
6:00 pm: VIP Cocktail (no-host) Reception with invited guests, filmmaker Monet Allard-Wilcox and the Sisters.
7:00 pm: Pre-show guest speakers including Cleve Jones, Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano, Executive Director of the African Human Rights Coalition Melanie Nathan, San Francisco Drag Queen/Russian Refugee Natalie Ray, Seth Rosenberg (Rainbow Railroad SF), Rochelle Fortier Nwadibia (ORAM) and a special live performance by Honey Mahogany.
7:30 pm: Stilettos for Shanghai U.S. Film Premiere
8:40 pm: Q&A with the Shanghai Sisters & Monet-Allard Wilcox hosted by Sister Roma
Stilettos for Shanghai
In 2014 an international contingent of Sisters was invited to Shanghai, China for their sixth annual Pride Celebration. Traveling around the globe to a communist country where being openly gay is as foreign a concept as freedom of speech is a frightening prospect for the average traveler, let alone a crazy group of drag nuns, but these Sisters gleefully accepted. They packed their habits (good and bad), feather boas, and false eyelashes for ten amazing days hosting events including an LGBT film festival, conferences on LGBT history and HIV/AIDS, and even a gay trivia night. From the pounding nightclubs of Shanghai to the bustling garment district to the iconic Bund, the Sisters created a sensation everywhere they went. Their impact on the Chinese was undeniable but even more impactful was the impression left by the Chinese people on the the Sisters themselves. Don’t miss one minute of Stilettos for Shanghai!
In April shocking news broke that gay men were being rounded up and held in concentration camp-like prisons in Chechnya Russia. Reports claim that more than 100 men were detained, beaten, electrocuted, tortured, and at least three were killed. Russian “investigations” have turned up very little information as the conservative, Kremlin-backed government claims that thee allegations are false because no homosexuals exist in the region, adding, ““If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”
Public outcry around the globe has called for an end to these atrocities but the fact is that many of us feel helpless as we hear stories of gay genocide happening in Russia, Uganda, the Middles East and more. While it is true that we cannot change the long-held beliefs of an entire culture, nor can we have a direct impact on their government or laws there is something we can do. We can help our LGBTQ brothers and sisters get out of those repressed and dangerous countries. That is why we are making our U.S. film premiere a fundraiser for ORAM and Rainbow Railroad, to amazing organizations that work directly with gay, lesbian, bi, and trans people seeking asylum. It’s up to us to help them get to safety. Please consider joining us for this amazing event and know that you’ve helped save lives with your generous donation.
A personal note from the filmmaker:
My name is Monet Allard-Wilcox and I am a first time documentary film maker and nearly twenty year employee of ABC7 News. Over the last 3 years I have documented the activities of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence including traveling with them, camera in hand, to Shanghai Pride in 2014. At the time Shanghai Pride was the only recurring Pride event in all of mainland China and only six years young. Footage of the Sisters in face and costume walking the streets of Shanghai is a visual and social delight.
The crux of my documentary, Stilettos for Shanghai, discusses the status of LGBTI communities world wide, and includes interviews with Tom Ammiano, Mark Leno, and Bisi Alimi, the first Nigerian man to come out publicly on Nigerian National TV, who was forced to flee his homeland after an attempt on his life. The film discusses the very serious issue of anti gay legislation and the impact on the people living under such repression.
In direct response to this social injustice, the always courageous drag nuns travel halfway around the world to offer support, inspire creativity and forge lasting connections with a fledgling movement.
As you will see, the Sisters made a huge impression on the LGBT community in Shanghai as well as building bridges with the organizers and participants, relationships that continue today.