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Royal Court Coronation

The Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire will be crowning two new reigning monarchs in a culmination of an entire weekend of events. Beginning May 26, the Court will host a number of events at Paper Moon, the Trapp and the Sheraton Hotel. From the In-Town Awards at Paper Moon on May 26 at 8 p.m. to the Coronation on May 28, the weekend will be inundated with the Court’s royalty, both past and present. This year’s theme is A Moment In Time: A Celebration of Past, Present & Future.

The RCGSE is the state’s oldest LGBT-run charity and has been actively raising funds for more than 35 years. This will be the 36th emperor and empress in the state. The group helps raise awareness on issues affecting the LGBT community of Utah and helps raise funds for other groups, including different AIDS and cancer funds. The RCGSE is run by volunteer royalty who are crowned in the annual fundraising event. For more information and a complete schedule of events, go to RCGSE.org.

This year’s candidates have been involved with the court for years and are raring to help out the community even more. Meet Emily Rose, also known as Richard Terra, the candidate for empress and Michael Bennion, the candidate for emperor.

Emily Rose

QSaltLake: How long have you been involved in the RCGSE?

Emily Rose: I have been a part of the Royal Court for about five years. Of the five years I have sat on the Board of Directors for three years.

QSL: What is your favorite event or project you’ve been involved with in the RCGSE?

ER: There are so many events that we do that I am involved with, but I would have to say Snow Ball, that raises monies for people living with HIV/AIDS, and Cancer Week and AIDS Week are my favorite. Cancer and AIDS Weeks are set aside where all we do is raise money for those funds only. Being able to help so many people that have cancer, HIV/AIDS is the most important to me. As I have many friends and family that have passed away from these terrible diseases.

QSL: What services does the RCGSE provide?

ER: The Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire provides many services. There is the AIDS Fund that helps with AIDS awareness. This fund also helps individuals pay their medical bills. This is also the same for the Cancer Fund. The PWA Christmas Fund is when the Prince and Princess Royale deliver funds to people living with HIV/AIDS for Christmas. We also have the Wade Deforest “Felicia” Young Adult Fund that is only for the youth.  Regardless of what fund it is, we have helped so many people in the 35 years that we have been in operation.

QSL: Why should people participate and get involved with the RCGSE?

ER: EVERYONE should get involved! To be a part of the oldest gay non-profit in Utah is just one small piece. To be able to help so many people that need our help more than us is one of the best feelings that you can ever have. It’s not just drag shows! We do anything we can to raise funds. The more of you that we have at our events the better! The best part of all is that we help anyone who asks. Yes we may be a gay organization, but we also help out our straight and bisexual allies. We do not discriminate on any level.

QSL: Any last words for the QSaltLake readers?

ER: Thank you for all the help that has been given over the past 35 years! We hope to see everyone come out to our events and raise more money for all of our causes. Also remember to come out and vote on the May 21 from noon to midnight at the Sheraton. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me or Michael Bennion, we will be out and about to answer any questions you might have or refer to RCGSE.org for more information.

Michael Bennion

QSaltLake: How long have you been involved in the RCGSE?

Michael Bennion: 17 years.

QSL: What is your favorite event or project you’ve been involved with in the RCGSE?

MB: It’s impossible to pin down just one or two events or projects because there have been so many.  To me, my favorite part is reading the thank you cards that have been sent from someone who has been helped by the Court and how grateful they are to have received our help.  Or having people come up and tell me how moved they were that they received a check from the PWA Christmas fund, feeling that other people deserved the check more.  I have seen people’s eyes well up because it has meant so much to them.

QSL: What services does the RCGSE provide?

MB: A lot of people think of the RCGSE as only being drag shows.  We have many talented drag performers and entertainers, and the shows are great.  But we are a lot more.  We are the oldest LGBTQ organization in Utah.  We are a 501(c)3 charitable organization, as well as a social organization.  We have funds to help people with AIDS;  one to help people with cancer; the People with AIDS Christmas Fund which last year gave about 90 people $100 checks at Christmastime, a People’s Concern Fund which helps people in need; a Youth Fund to help the youth; a Scholarship Fund to help people with their education, among others.  We hold a variety of events – game shows, food fundraisers, car washes to name a few.

QSL: Why should people participate and get involved with the RCGSE?

MB: It feels really good to do something positive and give back to our community. Many of us donate a lot of time and money doing what we do for this organization because we believe in it so much. But also becoming a member of the RCGSE and attending our functions is the backbone of this organization. Donating the cover charge for our events is what enables us to do what we do, but it is also a way of having fun and meeting new people while helping our community.

QSL: Any last words for the QSaltLake readers?

I would like to invite everyone to come to Coronation XXXVI at the Salt Lake Sheraton on May 29 at 6 p.m.; as well as all of our other Coronation weekend events.  Tickets for Coronation are $30 in advance/$35 at the door and can be purchased all weekend long during the events and at Hospitality.  I’d also like to wish everyone an awesome Gay Pride Weekend!

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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