In a celebration of nature, Pride, and queerness, Heal the Bay is hosting a performance packed and environmentally engaged aquatic drag show.
The first ever “Queers on Piers” event will be live streamed on June 25 at 7 p.m in partnership with SaMo Pride.
Heal the Bay Education Coordinator Robert Ramos will act as a live host using a blend of wit and cheer to weave together the marine-themed drag acts and informative segments on environmental issues and queerness in the natural world.
Ramos led the development of this creative and genre-bending project and enlisted the talents of his fellow performers in the gender non-conforming production company QWN (Quintessential Wonder Nasty). He also interviewed queer scientists to highlight their work and perspective, while raising awareness around environmental issues.
The event is centered on the idea of radical inclusion and seeks to increase queer representation in environmental spaces.
“I love science, I love the environment, but growing up as a queer person of color I didn’t see myself really represented in natural spaces or even in STEM,” said Ramos. “The point of this show is to bridge those communities, the queer community and also the environmental and scientific community.”
Each of the drag performances focuses on a different marine topic. One act is a metaphor for the impact of big oil and plastic pollution on ocean life.
Another focuses on direct actions community members can take to be positive stewards of the environment. Others are fun celebrations of marine creatures that display queer behavior.
Associate Aquarium Director Lauren Rink will speak about the queerness that can be found right inside the Heal the Bay Aquarium. This includes the sex-changing California Sheephead fish and the Pacific Seahorse, which is a species where the males carry the eggs.
These are just two examples out of many species that break ideas of strict gender binaries and roles, according to Ramos. Yet, many people are not aware that queerness is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
Ramos hopes that these discussions help increase awareness and in turn lead to more inclusion. The interviews with queer scientists are also part of his goal to build a connection between the queer and scientific worlds and make everyone feel like they can be part of the environmental community.
“LGBTQIA+ individuals, people of color, disenfranchised groups of people, I want them to watch this show,” said Ramos. “I want them to see that there’s a place for them in this world and know that the love they feel for one another is just that — it’s love. It’s natural, it’s normal, and it’s worthy of celebration.”
The event is an adults only (18+) show and will be streamed live via Zoom from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 25. Tickets can be purchased for $18 on eventbrite by visiting tinyurl.com/QueersonthePier and will help fund the environmental work of the Heal the Bay foundation.