Drag Against AIDS: AIDS and the Indianapolis Bag Ladies
Drag Against AIDS: AIDS and the Indianapolis Bag Ladies, presented by Kara Chinn, follows the history and impact of The Indy Bag Ladies.
After 40 years of continued efforts, The Indy Bag Ladies have impacted the Indianapolis LGBTQ community through a variety of programs that expanded beyond the original bus tour.
This thesis presentation explores and analyzes these efforts which include Nurse Safe Sexx, a safe sex campaign; the Damien Center, a HIV/AIDS health clinic; and the Buddy House and Buddy Support Program, two programs connecting people with AIDS to support programs.
Through this thesis, Kara also coordinated the presentation of “Dragtivism” at the Indiana Historical Society. This program brought together The Indy Bag Ladies, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Low Pone to demonstrate how these organizations use drag as a method of activism in their communities.
The Indy Pride Education Committee is excited to welcome Kara Chinn to share this community history and The Indy Bag Ladies’ work to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and support those affected.
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🙌 Special thanks to Ball State University for sponsoring this event!
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
👤 Kara Chinn is currently working with the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis in the role of Digital Image Curator. In this position, Kara works with the digital collections of the major historical and cultural institutions in Indianapolis to curate an image collection that suits the needs of the Encyclopedia.
During her Master’s Program for Public History, Kara focused her studies on the Bag Ladies. Her thesis “Drag Against AIDS: AIDS and the Indianapolis Bag Ladies” follows the history and impact of the Bag Ladies and their work. Through this thesis, she also coordinated the presentation of “Dragtivism” at the Indiana Historical Society. This program brought together the Bag Ladies, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Low Pone to demonstrate how these organizations use drag as a method of activism in their communities.
ABOUT THE INDY BAG LADIES
For forty years, “The Indy Bag Ladies have raised funds to help those living with HIV/AIDS in Indiana. The Indy Bag Ladies ~ founded by Coby Palmer, Ed Walsh & Gary Johnson ~ could quite possibly be the nation’s first HIV/AIDS fundraising organization” (https://www.indybagladies.org/history/).
The organization raises money for the Gregory Powers Direct Emergency Financial Assistance (DEFA) Fund in addition to raising funds for other non-profit organizations, including Step-Up, Damien Center, Indiana Youth Group, and many more (Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis). The Indy Bag Ladies also spearhead education and advocacy efforts to raise awareness of safer sex practices and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The Indy Bag Ladies are passionate about raising visibility and promoting the equality of the LGBTQI+ Hoosiers through comedy, fun, and inclusion. The group hosts many events annually including, “Shimmering Shamrocks,” “For The Love of Queens,” “The Stockings Were Hung…” and “Pollyanna Parker’s Christmas In July” (Health Foundation of Indianapolis). The Bag Lady Bus Tour is the organization’s premier fundraising event. It is enjoyed by many who support their efforts to cure HIV/AIDS. Celebrating 40 years of service, The Indy Bag Ladies is a pillar in the LGBTQI+ community in Central Indiana.
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