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230926 Steamworks ACLU Drag web.jpg

 Chicago Bathhouse Stands Up to Hate Raising $20,000 For the ACLU/Drag Defense Fund

Chicago, IL – (September 29, 2023) Steamworks Chicago like so many other LGBTQ+ businesses, wanted to do something to fight the daily barrage and persecution of drag queens and transgender Americans.  “Drag is not a crime.  Being trans is not a crime” said Nirmalpal Sachdev, GM Steamworks Chicago.   There are over 600 bills circulating in various state houses targeting the trans and drag community nationwide and they need representation and support to fight back.  “We are grateful for this generous contribution from Steamworks Chicago,” said Edwin Yohnka, director of communications and public policy at the ACLU of Illinois. “The commitment reflects the need for each of us to step up and defend LGBTQ+ rights as they are under attack across the country. With the help of folks from all across the country, the ACLU is committed to fighting for LGBTQ+ equality and protecting the right of free expression for Drag performers.”   A Chicago bathhouse and the ACLU/Drag Defense Fund joining forces may make you scratch your head and go…what?   In fact, that’s exactly what the ACLU thought when Steamworks Chicago approached them with their fundraising idea back in March.   They knew they had a winning concept to raise over $10,000 for the Drag Defense Fund. They just had to convince the ACLU.   


Imagine the chatter at the ACLU. Steamworks? Is that a plumbing company? The ACLU needed to make sure this was done in accordance with their fundraising guidelines and they had to make sure Steamworks Chicago was serious.     “We’re so grateful the ACLU took the time to listen to our wacky fundraising proposal.   Every year we create a special collectors VIP membership for International Mr. Leather in May and Market Days in August.  We call it our VIP/Black Card.  The card has a sexy fetish image on it and we thought what if we donate 10% of all 2023 VIP/Black Card sales starting May 1st through August 15th to the ACLU/Drag Defense Fund?”  said Nirmalpal Sachdev, Steamworks Chicago.   The image on the 2023 card is San Francisco drag performer star Grace Towers to further the company’s message of support and solidarity.   The card was a hit and Steamworks outpaced their own goal of $10,000 and instead raised $20,000 for the Drag Defense Fund.   “It’s not about whether we have drag performances here, it’s about standing up to hate against the LGBTQ+ community.”


Steamworks Chicago
3246 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL. 60657


We have a strict Zero Tolerance Policy for possession and use of alcohol or drugs or
any other illegal activity. Our basic bathhouse rule:
If it’s illegal outside of Steamworks, it’s illegal inside Steamworks.

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