Michele Rothstein owns Ballons With a Twist. She has lived in Las Vegas for 25 years and has been a longtime LGBTQ ally. Spectrum caught up with her to ask a few questions.
What made you a LGBTQ ally?
I am a proud ally of the LGBTQ community. I am connected in numerous ways including countless friends, family, and colleagues. There are numerous amazing organizations within the community that resonate with me that I am proud to support with either my time or my resources.
Why is it important to you to be an ally?
I have a deep love for the city of Las Vegas, and the LGBTQ community is an essential part of our community. I am a fi rm believer of bringing together all different sectors; race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., to create a city of support, and I believe Las Vegas is an exemplary model for doing just that.
How do you support the LGBTQ community?
My company, Balloons With A Twist, has been a proud sponsor of the annual Black and White party and AIDS walk for over a decade. We have also been involved with numerous events for Gay Pride, The Center, HRC and the Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. I also support the community by attending as many LGBTQ events as possible.
How long have you been a LGBTQ Ally?
Did someone you love create a desire in you to be an ally? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
My niece came out to me when she was in college. I wanted to support her, and in doing so, I fell in love with the LGBTQ community.
Can you give us a short story about what made you want to fight for LGBTQ causes, though you may have not identified as LGBTQ?
I see the long lasting effects that an organization such as AFAN has on the HIV aff ected community, and it inspires me to donate my time and resources to help with this fight.
What is your philosophy on embracing the diversity of our community? A: Love thy neighbor and treat others how you would want to be treated?
How do you see the Las Vegas LGBTQ community evolving in the next few years?
I’ve noticed some recent tension between diff erent LGBTQ groups. My hope is that everyone can put their personal opinions aside and fi ght for the greater good of the entire community.
We hear you really, really like drag shows. Can you tell us why?
And how that all got started? I started going to the drag show at Gipsy over 20 years ago. I saw a rising star in Bryan Watkins aka “Shannel”. We became great friends. I used to go every Sunday night with a group of friends. It became a tradition and a day of the week I looked forward to. Since then, Shannel has become a superstar in the drag world starring in :RuPaul’s Drag Race” and now has his own show on the Strip.