Preview: Trans Vegas, 9-11 July

Unless you’re currently self-isolating like my good self (COVID got me good, got me real good), you can’t have failed to notice the billboard/bus stop takeover across Manchester City Centre of Jamaican trans duo, Kyym and Emani.

by Lee Baxter

Our presence is our resilience

is the mantra of these strong fashion activists.

The visually striking and uncompromising artists photograph themselves in areas of Jamaica where they have not been welcome, reclaiming the streets and right to ‘take up space’.

And so, with these images which explore resilience, strength, visibility defiance and glamour, Manchester is introduced to the welcome return of the fabulous and equally uncompromising Trans Vegas.

Beginning tomorrow, Friday 9 July until 11 July, the Trans Vegas festival is a digital weekend of free events, along with the ticketed outdoor, socially distanced show at Homeground.

Brought to us by Trans Creative, Trans Vegas is the UK’s largest trans arts festival celebrating trans and non-binary artists from Manchester, across the UK and indeed internationally.

Jinkx Monsoon by Alberto Guzman Colon

Events include discussions, literature, storytelling, music, film, fashion and an exciting live, outdoor show this Saturday 10 July at Homeground by HOME

Highlights of the festival include

  • Jinkx Monsoon and Peppermint: an online discussion on identity in drag from the non-binary and trans stars of Ru Paul’s Drag Race;
  • Literary discussions from leading trans writers and performers featuring a special film curated by Lauren John Joseph in conversation with Torrey Peters, Juno Roche and Tom Cho;
  • A focus on trans black authors with Travis Alabanza and Kuchenga and event featuring Arab playwright Raphael Khouri, as well as digital commissions in the shape of trans bedtime stories from trans writers in Manchester.
  • Film pitches from trans people of colour to tell us about the trans film they’ve always wanted to see, will be shared and discussed at a round table, lead by Campbell X, the award-winning writer/director of feature film Stud Life.

In what is Trans Vegas’s first live event since the pandemic began, Trans Vegas Live at Homeground promises to being a whole host of trans magic to our wonderful city.

The line up includes CN Lester, Jo Clifford, Yvy DeLuca, Jason Andrew Guest, Ebony Rose Dark, Chuck SJ, Finley Letchford-Dobbs, Tito Bone, Beau Azra and Grace Oni Smith.

Kate O’Donnell by Lee Baxter

Artistic director (and theatre maker, writer and performer) of the festival, Kate O’Donnell says,

The festival celebrates and reflects on how, with some effort and a lot of hard work, we are finding our way into places which have not been for the likes of us, be that in literature, film, fashion, the streets, in women’s spaces and the drag scene.

Not for the likes of us is often how trans people are made to feel about the world through violence, ignorance, lack of positive visibility and prejudice. Arts and culture are part of the world which ignores trans stories and trans artists through a lack of representation and visibility.

This festival is for the likes of us; its films are ‘shot for the likes of us’ and it creates space to be ‘hot for the likes of us’…

For full details of the event and Trans Creative, visit

To book tickets to this Saturday’s live event, visit

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