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nounced to the crowd that anybody who needed help finding low-cost medication, he would help them.
“Not only did he give us money, but he offered to assist them to get medication that evening,” Tullos said. “That doesn’t ever happen. Not only for you to donate a large sum of money, but for you to offer people free or next-to-nothing medication. He was saying to us that he tries to charge people as little or no cost as possible for any HIV/ AIDS medication. If you actually look at the cost of Truvada … it would blow your mind. It’s astronomical. That was just — you can’t match that. All the stars lined up that night. We literally had every generation of audience member that night. To have such a donor and to have everybody from different age groups was incredible.”
In the early days, The Armorettes took their tips and handed them to people in need of medical care. Once it became a registered nonprofit, the troupe started a People with HIV and AIDS, or PWHA fund, which serves as its charitable arm. The $2,698 raised on April 9 is in this fund.
Overall, the queens raised more than $2.2 million for HIV/AIDS research and supportive services, Trashetta said.
“We’re here, we’re queer and we got your back,” Tullos said. “We want people to know that at the end of the year, we’re going to donate money and we’re going to help treat as many people as possible until there’s a cure.”
Whenever money is donated to The Armorettes drag troupe during their camp shows at Burkhart’s, it goes into the troupe’s PWHA — that’s People with HIV and AIDS — fund. Tips are collected there throughout the year, and distributed annually.
In 2017, The Armorettes awarded their PWHA funds to five Atlanta-area organizations. SisterLove and Positive Impact Health Centers each received $10,000. An additional $6,000 went to Someone Cares, Inc., which founder and Executive Director Ronnie Bass said was used to purchase HIV testing kits, condoms, lube, sharps boxes for biomedical waste, personal toiletry items for homeless transgender individuals, MARTA passes, food and housing for trans persons. Over the past five years, The Armorettes donated more than $50,000 to this organization, Bass told Georgia Voice.
This year the troupe also gave to Poz Vets, which serves HIV-positive military veterans, active duty service members and their families, as well as Empowerment Resources. This group provides low-cost healthcare service and HIV and STD screening and treatment.
“What I really appreciate about The Armorettes is, you as a fan, when you hand that dollar to one of the performers, you can track where that dollar ends up at the end of the year,” said Kyle Tullos, social media and marketing director. “We can say well at the beginning of 2017, we gave $10,000 to Positive Impact and that provides 20 people [pre-exposure prophylaxis] for a whole year.”
He said SisterLove typically puts its donations in clinics or housing programs.
August 4, 2017