Smokeless Diva is here to stay. The title has made it into her second year. We saw an amazing performer and advocate come make her mark, and now go into the abyss that is the retirement of normal non-draghood. No, but really if you have Tygra tell it, she’ll tell you that she is welcoming the break. But if you ask me, I would say she itches to come back whenever she is needed and that’s what she did this past week.
When our new diva had to undergo a
knee surgery (yeah, ouch), Tygra stepped in those amazing heels during the Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition (MOTAC) annual luncheon. She helped recognize other advocates doing the work against tobacco in all other pockets of the community. Tygra demonstrated grace and appreciation for having undergone the Smokeless Diva experience; a title she worked hard to build up and have respected. If you know Tygra as well as I do, she will tell you that tobacco education is close to her heart because of the effects it has had for the people she loves. Furthermore, tobacco education has become a counter tool she utilizes to shed light on the negative things she has seen going on in her community. Things people don’t talk about:
- LGBT persons smoke more than any other population in the US
- Killing at least 30,000 gay and lesbian people each year
- Sadly, it is the #1 most preventable cause of death and disease in the nation
- Every year tobacco kills more people in the US than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, murder, illegal drugs and fire- combined
- Direct and indirect advertisement from tobacco companies target LGBT audiences, especially youth
- Sponsorships from tobacco companies are received in support of LGBT issues and organizations
- Since the 90’s BIG tobacco have made themselves ‘seem’ like a friend rather than a killer
Among all the information we have about tobacco health risks, and the manipulative tactics of tobacco companies, tobacco prevention/awareness continues to be an upward battle.
When asked what has been the most difficult challenge for Smokeless Diva during her reign, Tygra will tell you, it has been others unwillingness to look at tobacco as a problem.
Today Persephone, our princess from the REZ, Omaha tribe to be specific, has a challenge ahead of her. Thanks to Tygra she has some paved road that she can build on.
Persephone, when not in drag specializes in youth suicide prevention, something she is very passionate about. She comes to us from a short, maybe long distance, I guess it depends who’s driving and at what type of night! Bancroft, Nebraska. While she lives and works there, Persephone has built a desire to make a difference for her people and for her friends. As a person of color, a person whose cultural history has been severely disadvantaged, she knows that she has a mission ahead of her. To be effective and to be real, she knows shaking it on the stage is the best and most awesome way to get people aware and motivated to make steps towards the right direction, however small or painful it may be.
American Cancer Society. Tobacco and the GLBT Community. 2003. http://www.glbthealth.org/documents/GLBTTobacco.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses-United States 2000-2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report; 57 (45): 1226-8
American Lung Association. The LGBT Community: A Priority Population for the Tobacco Control, 2009. http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/tobacco-control-advocacy/reports-resources/tobacco-policy-trend-reports/lgbt-issue-brief-update.pdf