ORLANDO, Fla. — Straight allies of the LGBTQ community strutted their best drag getups on stage in downtown Orlando, all to raise money for the OnePulse Foundation.
What You Need To Know
- The Straight Men Real Makeup fundraiser was held Sunday in Orlando
- The event helped raise funds for the OnePulse Foundation
- In the five years the event has been held, it has raised about $8,000 for the OnePulse Foundation
It’s through an event going into its fifth year called Straight Men Real Makeup.
Ricky Sykes, also known as Kandi Stiletto, lip synced to Beyoncé, beaming with joy. He knows all too well the need for positivity and encouragement around this time of year, and the support needed for the One Pulse Foundation
“I was actually really touched that they came up with this organization to honor those that we’ve lost," Sykes said. "I’ve been to Pulse before."
He’s one of eight performers who took part in a tribute to the 49 victims of the Pulse shooting, who lost their lives nearly five years ago.
“What we wanted to do was to send out that message of unity and joy and love, and everybody coming together in laughter. Because I think that it was one of those things that, we can heal better with laughter," said Andy Wright, who owns Makeup and Creative Arts, LLC, with Linda Gale Wright.
The Wrights say the feedback they’ve gotten cuts right to the heart of what they want to support, and the message they want to send through the event.
“Our event reminds everyone about what Pulse was about — when you went to that nightclub, everyone was included," Linda Gale Wright said. "It didn’t matter if you were gay, straight, what color you were, none of that mattered. You just went and had a really great time, and it was filled with a lot of love and laughter."
Although Sykes performs professionally, this role isn’t his usual.
In spite of that, he’s filled with pride when he gets into his drag stride.
“I want them to know that I’m an ally. I want them to know that there is love. Love exists. I want to spread the love that is in my heart to these guys," Sykes said.
Straight Men Real Makeup has raised around $8,000 for the OnePulse Foundation over the past several years.