Cardiff’s Queer Emporium forced to postpone charity gala due to rising Omicron rates

Queer Emporium’s inaugural charity fundraiser has been rescheduled for the 26 February 2022, in line with the end of LGBTQ+ history month

80 guests will dazzle in silver and white down the pink carpet on 26 February 2022. Queer Emporium’s founder, Yan White, teases that his outfit will be iridescent silver. Credit: Emma Blackmore

A social enterprise and shop has postponed its gala to 26 February 2022 amid fears of the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant.

Queer Emporium had intended to host its first gala in its shop on 2 Royal Arcade to raise money for charity Trans Aid Cymru on the 18 December, but was forced to cancel due to rising Covid-19 rates.

Now rescheduled to February 2022, the Queer Gala will be hosted by drag king Justin Drag. The event theme is frost and local comedians Leila Navabi and Priya Hall will interview guests about their outfits on the pink carpet. 

“It’s very much like trying to do the Met Gala on a tiny budget,” said the Emporium’s founder and manager Yan White.

With 2hrs 30 mins of performances, the gala will include local queer musician Manta Raybry and drag act Anniben, among others.

It’s very much like trying to do the Met Gala on a tiny budget

“Queer artists have consistently endured underrepresentation,” said Yan, 28. “Comedians and audiences value our space for people to explore and to hone their art forms.”

Inside Queer Emporium where the Queer Gala will take place
All proceeds will go directly to Trans Aid Cymru as the event’s sponsors, Gays Who Wine, Lab 22, Mary’s and The Golden Cross will supply the alcohol, while entertainment will be covered by the Emporium. Credit: Emma Blackmore

Tickets cost £50 and due to the gala’s sponsors all proceeds go directly to Trans Aid Cymru. The charity will use the money to fund grants for trans, intersex and nonbinary (TIN) people in Wales.

Rudy H, co-founder of Trans Aid Cymru, said the charity currently provides £500 a month in £25 grants to the TIN community, but this will likely increase thanks to the gala.

The 27-year-old added, “To have Queer Emporium really champion local talent is so special to us, it supports Welsh drag and Welsh queer performers in intangible ways.”

The funding and support is as vital as ever since the universal credit was reduced by £20 a week in October and the ongoing housing crisis, Rudy said.

He highlighted, “We’ve had to go over our capacity for grants several times this year, as we could not in good conscience turn people away.”

Inside Queer Emporium where Queer Gala will take place in February 2022
Since opening in June 2021, Queer Emporium now supports and represents 20 LGBTQ+ businesses in one space. They have expanded to support queer performers and artists. Credit: Emma Blackmore

Yan’s tips to find the perfect frost outfit for the pink carpet:
The dress code on the night is frost.

“We tried to have an open brief on purpose. You can pick silver, white, blue or navy blue. You can use crystals – there’s a lot of different directions you can go with it! We want people to dress however they feel comfortable with, but also in a way that makes them feel fabulous. The idea is to give them that little push, so that everyone runs with it. I’m going to make this Cardiff’s answer to the Met Gala!”