God Save the Queens: Star-Studded Benefit for Russia’s LGBT Community

The new Secretary of State at the Vatican, Pietro Parolin, said the other day that the subject of celibacy within the church is open to discussion. Responding to a question during an interview with Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the man regarded as "the most powerful official at the Vatican after the pontiff," said, "Celibacy is not an institution but look, it is also true that you can discuss [it] because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church."

"The efforts that the church made to keep ecclesiastical celibacy, to impose ecclesiastical celibacy, have to be taken into consideration," added the 58-year-old prelate from Italy. "One cannot say simply that this belongs in the past." (Now if i can only get this guy to talk to my girlfriend.)

The world is changing. Amid the usual doom and gloom, skirmishes, war and all the tragedy our media shows us, there are movements forward. I was the best man at a wedding between two women the other day. Rights and fair play are at least discussed. Society is more forgiving. Lindsay Lohan will get another chance. And we almost forgave Weiner and Spitzer—which is destined to be a talk show…OMG a reality show! How fun!

But then we have Russia. Vladimir Putin—who looks like the gayest man alive in every photo I’ve seen him in—is leading a regime of oppression against LGBT citizens of his beloved homeland. An event to raise awareness and loot to support our oppressed friends over there entitled "God Save the Queens" will light up XL Nightclub on Saturday night beginning at 7pm.

Lyle Derek and Noah Valentyn have put this shindig together and they should be rewarded for their efforts. By all means attend and tell everyone you know about it. Things can be done! I mean is any gay bar or club selling Stoli anymore? Shouldn’t all the clubs take a stand on this? I say fuck ’em in the wallets…It always works with my girlfriend.

A star-studded benefit for Russia’s LGBT community, God Save the Queens! To Moscow, With Love, will feature performances by Katrina Darling, Joey Arias, Miss Guy, Sherry Vine, Mistress Formika, Tina Burner, Dallas DuBois, Maddelynn Hatter, Michael Cavadias and Cher Noble.

Miss Guy will also DJ. I am assured there will be some surprises as well. It’s $20 at the door, shows at 7:30 and 9:30. The gala is hosted by Mudhoney Salon and Any Old Iron. Your door dollars will benefit the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, which is working to stop the violence in Russia.

Lyle sent me this:

Hi Friends:

I hope this finds you well. I am producing a party next Saturday that is a real labor of love! This party is supporting a friend’s organization called the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance which is working on the sad situation in Russia for our LGBT brothers and sisters.

Of all my events over the years I am so proud of this one. And it really needs your support and I would love it if you could join us and get tickets for this wonderful group who are taking direct action. Let’s all come together on this night and celebrate and send Moscow lots of love!

I would truly appreciate it if you would get tickets to this one and if you cannot go please spread this around on Facebook and emails, etc. Let’s show Russia some real New York love!

And the show is one of the most exciting NY line ups in ages—and we have some real surprises in store too! I hope to see you there and share a Pink Russian with you!



I had a chance to ask Lyle some questions.

What is the situation for LGBT people in Russia?

We have spoken to some of the queens in Russia and as we all know, it is rough for them, but they have a thriving gay scene and drag scene despite it all. Russians are a very strong and resilient people, but I am by no means an expert on this issue. Like many, I am just concerned and this is a sad state in this day and age. We have come so far and had such a great year here and it’s like the dark ages there.

What do you hope to accomplish with this event?

We hope to raise awareness for the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, and some funds would be great too. They are friends of ours and we want to help them. They are from Russia and working in Washington now on this issue directly. They will be at our event Saturday and will speak about what is going on and they know much more about what is going on than I do, so we hope everyone comes, we all get the facts and the night makes an impact.

What is going to happen at the event?

"God Save the Queens" is really a drag spectacular with Mistress Formika doing a rare drag appearance. We have the legendary Joey Arias and Sherry Vine and many more who will do numbers in the theme and spirit of our event. The scandalous Katrina Darling who ruffled the real queens’ feathers last year with her Playboy spread will open the show with a sexy burlesque number and Miss Guy is going to close the night with his new track "God Save New York," which he did with Debbie Harry.

Are you excited about doing this at XL?

Doing this at XL made so much sense as they are the epicenter of gay culture and are doing it with such class. A lot of venues wanted this show but XL at The Out Hotel just made perfect sense to us and we will be doing another God Save the Queens right before the Olympics and in London and Los Angeles to continue to help the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance. The one thing this is doing is bringing the global LGBT community together and that is good. It’s going to just grow before the Olympics.

Is there hope?

Of course there is always hope. Look at the great year we had with the Supreme Court. It was a long road to that victory. And Russia will be next.

What do you feel is appropriate regarding the Olympics in Russia? A ban? A boycott of advertisers? An armband of solidarity?

We need to take our anger to the Olympic Committee and the government, not companies that have nothing to do with Putin or his policies. I think the blogger Dan Savage was very irresponsible by putting false information about Stoli out there and started this boycott. All of our performers find that a waste of time and Stoli has been supportive of LGBT events for decades and continue to be. We should all stand together, not have this animosity for folks who our on our side.

Are Russian gays eligible for political amnesty in the USA?

I am not sure if they are, but after Russia took in Edward Snowden, I hope our country would welcome the queens from Russia. Gays never give up secrets.

Get "God Save the Queens" tickets here!


image of Joey Arias via

The Pope Digs John Belushi

There’s a certain stripe of film to which the Vatican will typically lend its imprimatur. Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ, and Victor Flemming’s Joan of Arc have all, to the surprise of no one, received two big, papal thumbs up from Catholic authorities in the past. But this week the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, singled out a film that, while no less esteemed in its own right, doesn’t quite fit the template: The Blues Brothers.

THR reports that in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the film’s release, L’Osservatore has called the pic a “Catholic classic” and recommended it to Catholics everywhere. On the surface it might seem like an incongruous choice, but the rationale isn’t impossible to deduce. Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) are, after all, “on a mission from God.” Sure, they might scare up no end of vehicular mayhem along the way—the film features one of the greatest screen pile-ups of all time—but it’s all in the name of saving a Catholic orphanage from the wrecking ball. In fact, the only (non-musician) character in the film to whom the Brothers Blues pay one iota of respect is Kathleen Freeman’s nun, a.k.a. The Penguin, who runs the insolvent home for boys.

So the next time you’re feeling like you need a little Pope-sanctioned entertainment, but aren’t quite feeling up for all fourteen stages of the cross, there is, mirabile dictu, an alternative.

Priests Playing with Soccer Balls, Not Little Boys

Here’s a heartwarming story out of Italy. It seems the Pope doesn’t have to concern himself with sex abuse scandals and religious stuff alone—he can also care (deeply) about soccer. In fact, there’s a special football league just for men of the cloth. We’re talking about a footy league made up of priests and seminarians from Rome’s Catholic institutions. So what does the Holy See’s version of the World Cup look like? And is the pope a Juventus fan?

The Clericus Cup is a four-year-old tournament where men of the cloth duke it out on the pitch. Sometimes they play on a field behind St. Peter’s, and there are fans with guitars and drums, and other fans dressed like superheroes and Vikings. We can only hope that there are nuns acting as cheerleaders à la Sister Act, but spicier. Come on sisters!

This year’s Clericus Cup finals featured 16 teams of religious guys representing 65 countries. There were even corporate sponsors. The cup was founded in 2007 by Monsignor Claudio Paganini, who says, “At the Vatican, rumor has it that on Mondays, the first thing the pope asks him is how Juventus [a professional Italian soccer team] did the previous weekend,

In the recent finals, a team of South American and Italian players from the Redemptoris Mater seminary (team name: Redemptoris Mater) faced off against yanks from the North American College (team name: North American Martyrs). Redemptoris Mater seems to have a ringer on their team in the godly form of Davide Tisato, 26, a fifth-year seminarian who played semiprofessional ball before joining the seminary. Tisato scored the final match’s winning goal, beating the American team 1-0. But really, when priests get their frustrations out on the soccer field, and not naughty places, we all win.