SAN DIEGO -- For the past 22 years, the Gay Men’s Spiritual Retreat has been dedicated to fostering spiritual growth by organizing retreats and activities, free of any sectarian, religious or judgmental affiliations.
On April 5, GMSR adds to its repertoire “The Red Carpet Spectacle,” promoting unity and service within the San Diego community in a safe, sober and upbeat environment.
San Diego Gay & Lesbian News speaks with Jesus Sanchez, the group’s PR/marketing director, about his involvement in the retreat as well as the upcoming event. After joining GMSR last June, Sanchez was handpicked for the board due to an extensive background with nonprofits and his pursuit of a master's degree in nonprofit leadership and management at the University of San Diego.
GMSR is essential to the community, in Sanchez’s perspective, because it actively encourages gay men to stay sober with the help of an amazing fellowship. It is sobriety and spiritual growth spurred on by the bonds formed throughout the retreats and other GMSR. Ultimately, getaways and events like the upcoming red carpet soiree help build a “safety net and support system” for gay men to find fellows with the same life goals and values.
At “The Red Carpet Spectacle,” Sanchez said, attendees can expect a class act, centered around some of the finest talent the San Diego area has to offer. Professional performers of all ages will provide a night of all inclusive, PG-13 entertainment. The inclusive, all-are-welcome environment reflects GMSR’s mission statement by celebrating unity in a safe environment.
Proceeds will go directly to the GMSR scholarship funds, providing financial assistance for individuals who cannot afford to go on the three-day retreat in June 13-15.
For Sanchez, GMSR is a passion project, very dear to him. In his experience:
"It saved me from isolation and helped me define who I was as a gay sober man. For years, I never knew a sober community of gay men existed. When I found GMSR, I found my family. I found a home where I could celebrate who I am with an inclusive group of people."
The highlight of “The Red Carpet Spectacle,” in Sanchez’s opinion, is easily the Dynamic Drag Duos. It begins with three renowned, professional drag queens from the community who each take a man under their wings, men who have “never imagined putting on a pair of heels.” Contestants this year include some bona fide macho men, some of whom are ex-military, who have agreed to dress up for the night and perform in drag. Sanchez describes it as “Dancing with the Stars,” but in drag, all of which will be documented to chart their transformations.
The Gay Men's Spiritual Retreat’s "Red Carpet Spectacle" drag fundraiser takes place Saturday, April 5 at Sunset Temple in North Park. For more event information, check out Facebook or contact Jesus Sanchez.