THE BLOG
04/21/2014 04:07 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Gay Culture: It's What's Trending! -- Now It's Time to Pay for the Privilege

This post is co-authored by Josh Machiz

People always ask us why we spend so much time and energy putting together the DragOn Ball to benefit GMHC. The answer is harsh, but true. We do it because:

Everyone is stealing our gay culture! And it's not just the hipsters and uppity, suburban moms. The entire entertainment industry -- from TV sitcoms to Lady Gaga to Broadway -- wants a piece of our action. Can we really blame everyone for finding us so "absolutely fabulous" and hilarious? It's flattering -- and no, these shoes aren't in stores until next season -- but we actually blame us.

We gays have something unique to sell that isn't currency; it's current. We blazed the pop culture trails before you even formed an opinion. You kiki'ed while we yawned and eye-rolled. The TV shows you love are popular because we plucked them from obscurity. Miley Cyrus's Insty captions are "YAZZZ," because one of us schooled her. So where is the gay outcry over this incredible #CopyrightInfringment? You say "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" but what you really mean is "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" And THAT'S the problem: We've been giving it away, and we need to start charging for it. You want the privilege of trending? Pay. Up.

We can keep on complaining and whining about how "mainstream" this or that has become, we can create current terminology and then murder it in cold blood when it gets boring,,, or we can accept what has happened and find a way to make some money off it! Remember stealing music off the internet? That used to be a thing and then Apple made iTunes to legitimize stolen music. Where is the equivalent product to monetize our gay-subculture cool?

Now we don't want to take credit here. We certainly didn't invent gay culture or create the terms and we understand our own argument that it's "pay to play" when it comes to things like "relevance." And that, my thieving little delinquent friends is why a bunch of us started our fundraiser, DragON! You owe us money and it is time to pay up. We have needs and a cure for AIDS is at the top of the list.

Between RuPaul's Drag Race, Wendy Williams' weave, and Christina Aguilera's makeup, it's only a matter of time before the mainstream catches on and starts throwing Drag Balls of their own. So before they find out that it's a blast to transform yourself into a larger-than-life, glamorous, imaginary character, we decided to co-opt our own culture and put the money where it belongs -- in our community! Pay your debt by participating and donating.

This year we are partnering with GMHC, because -- let's face it -- nobody gives like they do. They don't discriminate; they will help anyone. GMHC's fight to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected is not an HIV thing; it is a human being thing. That is why everyone can help and everyone is invited to our party.

Want to change your tired image? Want to be famous or get more fans? We can help, but it ain't for free, so come to DragON: The Dollhouse on April 26th at the newly renovated Maritime Hotel in NYC (http://dragonnyc.com) at 8pm sharp! #FameHasaPrice #SorryNotSorry #Pay4Cool #Donate2GetFans.

Josh Machiz is the Director of Corporate Communications and Social Media at GHMC. In addition to this experience, he serves as a board member of TEDxTimesSquare, curating speakers, managing public relations activities and managing the social media properties for this premier TEDx conference. Josh holds an undergraduate degree in microbiology from McGill University and an MBA in finance and marketing from Fordham University.