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Drag fundraiser in Oakland takes defiant stand against intolerance

Drag fundraiser in Oakland takes defiant stand against intolerance
Drag fundraiser in Oakland takes defiant stand against intolerance 02:16

OAKLAND -- Supporters and members of the LGBT community came together in Oakland to condemn anti-drag bills being passed in several, mostly Republican-led states across the country.

The event was called "Can't Drag Us Down: A Night of Drag and Defiance" at Shakewell, a restaurant and bar in Oakland's Lakeshore neighborhood. More than 300 people turned out to help raise at least $10,000 for the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center.

Drag performer Bionka Simone dazzled the sold-out crowd at Shakewell's first-ever fundraiser.

It was meant to be a stand against hate amid a wave of anti-LGBT bills being introduced, advanced or passed in states across the country. There are currently more than 450 anti-LGBT bills in state legislatures, according to the ACLU.

"Trans and LGBTQ people -- we're the most marginalized community that's out there so why not do something to help support my community?" Simone said. 

Bionka is a trans woman who has been entertaining for 25 years. 

"It pains me to see my girlfriends in other cities like Texas, Tennesse, Kentucky kind of battling it out. They're trying to take away their rights," she said. "It sucks, there's nothing more that I can say than it sucks. I just wish that people actually go out to a show and see what it was like. Anyone who was here could tell you there's nothing but love in the audience, people were having a lot of fun. There were kids that were here." 

Shakewell owner Tim Nugent also joined the queens as Lady Lakeshore to show the power of diversity and drag. He organized the event and also sits on the center's board. 

"We're going to celebrate, we're going to sing, we're going to dance, we're going to represent these drag queens from S.F. and Oakland," Nugent said. "We're super, super excited."

"My goal is to just continue to show up and being who I am, as long as I represent me, I'm not the face for every transgender person but at least someone can get to know a trans person and see what they're like," Simone added. 

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