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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Ball celebrates contributions of trans pioneer
by Vern Hester
2018-09-26

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On the evening of Sept. 22, Mothers LaSaia, Lauren and Jahari Mizrahi presented The Pay It No Mind Ball in celebration of the contributions of LGBTQ activist Marsha P. Johnson.

The free event ( which Brave Space Alliance presented ) featured a number of ball competitions, a buffet dinner and cash prizes with several icons of the ball scene in attendance. Emcees for the evening included the Legendary Father Kentrele, Sha Sha Lauren and Denim Mizrahi, and judges for the competitions included, among others, LaSaia Wade and Solomon Arnold.

Johnson was a prominent figure at the Stonewall Uprising in 1969 and is often cited as throwing the first brick that ignited the riot. Apart from being named by a number of Stonewall veterans interviewed in David Carter's book Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution ( Macmillun Publishing, 2004 ) for her actions, she was also known as "the mayor of Christopher Street," a founding member of The Gay Liberation Front, co-founder of a trans-advocacy organization ( Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries or S.T.A.R. ) with close friend Sylvia Rivera, a model for Andy Warhol, and an activist with ACT UP for the last years of her life. She and Rivera also started Star House—a living space for young drag queens, trans women, gender non-conforming individuals and other LGBTQ+ street kids. Johnson died July 6, 1992.

For The Pay It No Mind Ball, the overflow crowd was treated to several performance categories and a seemingly endless night of entertainment as contestants competed in areas like New Vogue, New Realness, Pretty Girl Realness, Executive Realness, Revolutionaries vs. Hippies, Hand Performance ( in white gloves ), Sex Siren and Glitz and Glam.


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