Trans Crowdfund Live Brings Laughs, Art, and Gender-Affirming Care Support

Virtual show fundraises to support BIPOC trans Austinites

Courtesy of Emmet Hunker

The origin of Friday’s Trans Crowdfund Live virtual show begins when local activist and artist KB Brookins, after receiving gender-affirming surgery last April, was struck by an alarmingly common reality for many in the trans community. “I realized a lot of these costs around gender-affirming care are pretty astronomical.”

Brookins, who is co-founder of LGBTQIA coalition Embrace Austin, says subsequent conversations with friends helped shape the idea of hosting a trans-focused fundraiser, specifically a variety show that would help cover the costs of gender-affirming care for Black and Indigenous trans Austinites of color.

Trans Crowdfund Live marks Embrace Austin’s first event since the coalition’s launch earlier this year. True to Embrace Austin’s goal to create a space for cross-qmmunity collaboration, queer partnership lies at the core of TCL, with two other Austin-based orgs, queer variety show Thee Gay Agenda and nonprofit and TCL beneficiary Black Trans Leadership of Austin, joining in hosting the event. In addition to fundraising, the event’s other primary goal is to amplify trans and nonbinary musicians, comedians, drag artists, and more.

“We're boosting queer economy, in the sense that all performers and producers of this event are paid for their labor,” says Brookins. “I think it's really important that we pay trans people, if we're doing something to fundraise for trans people? It just feels like a bottom-line thing.”

TCL’s stellar lineup features the comedy stylings of Stephanie Vasquez Fonseca and Aira Juliet; music from the artists Vonne and Gabilán; and poetry pieces from the writer Soups. Drag artists Papi Churro and The Trans Era will also perform. All of these prerecorded performances will be enhanced live during the stream by hosts and Black Queer Lives Matter ATX leadership Ms. GIRL6 and Ms.AmazingHead, who organizers say will also provide some fun audience engagement. If you purchase a VIP package ($35), you have the option to choose between a boozy or alcohol-free package that includes some swag, tamales courtesy of Austin’s La Cocina Queer, and the ingredients and recipe to whip up a special “Fairy Oatmother” cocktail or mocktail (supplies will be delivered day of show).

However, in the wake of last month’s Winter Storm Uri, organizers said the goal for TCL changed from funds being solely earmarked for gender-affirming care to becoming more akin to mutual aid, which could encompass storm recovery needs in addition to gender-affirming care. “If trans people want to use that for gender-affirming care, then 100%,” says Emmet Hunker of Thee Gay Agenda. “If they want to use it because they've just been hit by a crisis and need to use it for X, Y, or Z, we want to support that.” And, as Brookins points out, the shift remains true to the event’s founding idea, “which is uplifting your community that's not often lifted, like trans Black and brown people, queer Black and brown people, and gender-nonconforming folks.”

Organizers hope TCL will become a recurring event, says Brookins, whose wish is that a beneficiary show like Trans Crowdfund Live will evolve into a long-term source of support for trans Black and Indigenous Austinites of color. “It's gonna be a long-term need – and I want us to be here for the long-term.”

Trans Crowdfund Live will stream this Friday, March 5, 7-8:30pm, with tickets available at Can’t make the show but still want to contribute? Donate funds directly to Find more info on Facebook.

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LGBTQ, Austin LGBTQIA, Trans Crowdfund Live, Black Queer Lives Matter ATX, KB Brookins, Embrace Austin, Thee Gay Agenda, Black Trans Leadership of Austin, Emmet Hunker, Papi Churro, The Trans Era, Ms. GIRL6, Ms. Amazing Head, La Cocina Queer

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