Red Ribbon Show Aims To Support People Affected By HIV, AIDS

Statesman Journal | July 15, 2013 3:56 a.m. | Updated: July 15, 2013 10:56 a.m.

Contributed By:

Saerom Yoo

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The Southside Speakeasy was packed Sunday evening with people wearing sequined dresses, platform heels and big hair as they attended this year’s Red Ribbon Show.

Hosted by the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Willamette Empire, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender nonprofit organization, the show raises funds to support people affected by HIV and AIDS.

Jonathan Reitan, the organizer, said people from as far as Seattle and the Oregon Coast attend and perform at the event.

Reitan started the fundraiser after testing positive for HIV six years ago, he said. He has benefited from some of the organizations the show has supported.

“I know what the need is,” he said. “I know where the money goes.”

Sunday’s beneficiary was Our House of Portland, which provides health care, housing and other services to low-income people living with HIV and AIDS. The goal was to raise $15,000.

Performers dressed in drag lip-synced to numbers such as “All That Jazz” from the musical “Chicago” and pop songs from Adele to help raise money. Silent and live auctions also were part of the event.

Reitan said that besides the funds, he hopes the Red Ribbon show will help raise awareness and eliminate stigmas of the disease.

syoo@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6673 or follow at Twitter.com/syoo

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