About 65 people attended ”Wig Aid Live” on Saturday, June 25, at Town Danceboutique, raising more than $2,000 for the Wanda Alston House.
”I think it’s a good start,” says Christopher Dyer, director of former-Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Office of GLBT Affairs, and organizer of the event.
The Wanda Alston House, a project of Transgender Health Empowerment, was built in 2008 and named after the first permanent mayoral liaison to the LGBT community, who was killed in 2005. The house remains the District’s only transitional home specifically for homeless GLBT youth, ages 16 to 24.
”The program really needs a lot of support and considering that we were competing with the Pride weekend in New York, and the summer, we did very good,” Dyer says.
In the past, Wig Aid has helped the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) and Youth Pride, which Dyer founded. Dyer performed at the event as his drag alter ego, Cookie Buffet. Since leaving the mayor’s office, with the transition from Fenty to Mayor Vincent Gray, Dyer has also formed an advisory board to help raise money for the Wanda Alston House.
Dyer says he hopes this year’s Wig Aid, the fifth, also raised awareness about the transitional home’s need for funding and the fact that donations may be made online.
Brian Watson, director of programs at Transgender Health Empowerment, said the Wanda Alston House is currently operating with a deficit and the money raised at Wig Aid Live is much needed.
”Everything that we get helps out,” he says. ”We spend about $700 a month on groceries alone.”
To make a donation to the Wanda Alston House, visit wandaalstonhouse.org.