Gender Identity: A Benefit Concert for Trans Equity Project

This year, we have asked some of Philadelphia’s most social justice minded artists to present a performance piece that expresses their thoughts, ideas, perspectives and experiences on the topic Gender Identity. To coincide, the Philadelphia Ethical society will be hosting a dialogue session, led by Christian Hayden, The Art of Becoming. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to Trans Equity Project.

Sunday, June 16th @ 4pm
Philadelphia Ethical Society
1906 Rittenhouse Sq., Philadelphia


Featured Performers

Messy - Get Pegged

Messapotamia Lafae
better known as “Messy,” is a post-gender surrealist, sartorialist, dance artist, and burgeoning “chanteux” based in Philadelphia, PA. She received classical dance training at Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY), The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (Toronto, ON), at Wissahickon Dance Academy (Philadelphia, PA) with Nancy Malmed, and at the Performance Garage (Philadelphia, PA) with Alexei Borovik. Messy has performed as a dance artist and a lip sync artist for more than 10 years. Until very recently, Messy refused to sing for personal reasons. With support from a Follicle grant from the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Messy began taking voice lessons with Cookie Diorio in October 2017. She made her live singing debut in the immersive cabaret experience Do You Want a Cookie? for the 2018 Fringe Festival. She was featured in Tom Wilson Weinberg’s Cabaret Vérité VIII: Truth Be Told, a benefit for the William Way LGBT Community Center.


Eppchez Headshot (2)

is a classically trained and jazz influenced vocal improvisor, lyricist, and innovative self-producing playwright. Eir work makes space for liminal bodies and big scary questions who also performs in Philly’s drag and burlesque scene as Topsy Pendejo.





Pax Headshot

Pax Ressler
is a genderqueer performer, music director, designer, and composer based in Philadelphia. Last month, they performed and wrote for “Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral for Heroes” with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret. In Philadelphia, they have worked with Arden Theatre Company, Nicole Canuso Dance Company, Shakespeare in Clark Park, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theater, 11th Hour Theatre Company, and more. They collaborate with Justin Yoder on “Art Isn’t Easy,” a parody/comedy web series about the trials and triumphs of being an artist. In addition to theatre work, Pax is a non-binary and transgender advocate and educator in the Philadelphia community.

and hosted by

Cookie Diorio2 - Pink Melon Media

Cookie Diorio 
is a Philadelphia-based drag performer, a classically trained vocalist, a songwriter, an activist, a husband, mama, a music teacher and lover of all things sparkly. She has been seen mostly recently in “Do You Want A Cookie?” with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, at the off-broadway Kraine Theater with her solo show “Fire In My Bones: A Gospel Jubilee” and in Opera Philadelphia’s production “Queens of the Night”. Cookie grew up in historic Auburn, NY with gospel in her ears, civil rights in her blood and many songs in her heart. She mastered walking in 5 inch stilettos in the night clubs of Boston, achieved her hair fantasy by studying vintage videos of Grace Bumbry and founded the giving project Art of the Heel.


The Art of Becoming
Monday, June 24th @ 7pm
Philadelphia Ethical Society
1906 Rittenhouse Sq., Philadelphia

led by Christian Hayden

Using text and the performance of theater works, we will look at the process of becoming- how one decides and shapes and make the intentional choice in the face of oppression and marginalization of society. 

Suggested Reading: None, or bring in your favorite monologue about coming out/being queer. 

*Free admission with seat reservation