People have a ghoulish hunger for Venus Envy’s annual Halloween party. “They started asking us quite early in the summer if we were having a Halloween party this year,” owner Shelley Taylor says. “Queers love Halloween!”
This year’s party, called The Monster Mack, will include dancing to music by DJs yalla!yalla! and Debonair and prizes for best costumes.
There’s no pressure to create the perfect costume, but attendees are strongly discouraged from wearing any costume that reeks of cultural appropriation, such as Indian warrior or sexy Pocahontas (if the culture isn’t the person’s own). This is no surprise — the folks at Venus Envy work hard to ensure that their services, products and events are in line with certain values. They recently launched a revised version of the Venus Envy Bursary Fund, to which the party proceeds go.
Previously, applicants could study whatever they wanted, but they had to be either female or trans. The revised bursary will be open to everyone, “regardless of gender and sexual identity.” Eligible areas of study include grassroots organization, anti-oppression, sex positivity and community building. The $1,500 bursary will be awarded twice yearly, in September and January.
“It gets awkward after a while . . . not everyone identifies as a woman or a trans person but might be in need and doing really amazing work in our community,” Taylor explains. “We wanted to get away from this idea of how you identify and move toward what you do and how you’re trying to make a better world.”