Filipino trans activist and author Geena Rocero hosts a kamayan dinner for Fire Island fundraiser
Model, activist, trans icon, and “Horse Barbie” author Geena Rocero together with some 70 trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming guests feasted on a kamayan dinner spread to kick off the first annual “Doll Invasion” at Fire Island last July 29.
The historically queer safe haven/East Coast vacation spot was the location of the fundraiser-cum-daylong party that aimed to make the island “accessible to more than just the ‘G’ in LGBT.”
With the help of her sous-chefs Filipino artist Valeria Moraga and Filipino fashion stylist LJ Perez, Rocero made a kamayan dinner complete with Pinoy staples such as pinakbet and lumpiang Shanghai served, of course, with rice on banana leaves. “It really set the tone for the weekend, which was all about community,” she said.
In a video she posted, Rocero can also be seen teaching guests the proper way to eat with their hands. “So you grab the rice, and you just put any [viand] in it. This is a little technique: So you grab it and dip it and you like press, press, press, press, right? And then you pick it up, you push it [to your mouth with your thumb].” The meal was bookended by ube pancakes for dessert.
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The funds raised
The proceeds from the fundraising, which totaled $30,000 over the course of two weeks, covered travel and labor costs for attendees as well as talent fees for the performers. Almost a third of it went to For the Gworls, a Black, trans-led mutual aid fund.
Rocero, through her publisher the Dial Press at Random House, also donated copies of her book to the community.
The star-studded party was also attended by Oscar-winning actor Geena Davis, Tony Award-winning actor and singer Sara Ramirez, writer and actor Julio Torres, actor Hari Nef, and designer Willy Norris, who designed T-shirts with the words “Everybody knows I’m a transsexual” printed on them.
Doll Invasion organizer Fran Tirado said they already have plans to make the fundraiser party an annual event.