Drag race legend Cheddar Gorgeous exhibits iconic runway look for LGBTQIA+ history month

The Pink Triangle gown will be on display all month

By Emma Davidson | Last updated 7 February 2023

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Kimpton Clocktower Hotel and its charity partner George House Trust have launched a moving and powerful exhibit at The Refuge in honour of LGBTQIA+ month, which runs throughout February.

Fans of the UK version of American TV hit Ru Paul’s Drag Race will recognise the Pink Triangle outfit now on display inside the venue’s Winter Garden, that was created by Manchester-based contestant Cheddar Gorgeous as part of the show’s latest series. 

The drag artist was praised for her work on the gown, which features a bodysuit embellished with pink triangles, a reclaimed political symbol associated with LGBTQIA+ movements. 

Image: Manchester’s Finest Group

Originally seen as a badge of shame in Nazi Germany, when it became one of the symbols used in concentration camps to identify gay men, the pink triangle symbol was later reclaimed by LGBTQIA+ groups in the early 70s who used the symbol to protest against homophobia and for queer liberation. 

The pink triangle is also associated with the ACT UP group that were prevalent throughout the AIDS crisis – fighting to end the epidemic, with the outfit also including the group’s slogan “Silence = death”. 

Cheddar Gorgeous appeared on season four of the legendary Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK TV series, using her platform as a means to raise awareness of AIDS with a younger audience. For Cheddar, whilst representation on platforms like Drag Race is important, she says it’s imperative to ensure that these moments of recognition are translated into calls for action. 

The real activism is done day-in-day out by organisations working to support people living with HIV, Cheddar works tirelessly to support George House Trust raising awareness of the charity that supports people who live with HIV to live healthy and confident lives.

Established in 1985 by a group of gay men living in Manchester city centre, George House Trust has been at the forefront of the HIV response in Greater Manchester for the last 38 years. Although tremendous progress has been made, with those living with the virus now going on to live long and healthy lives, the work of George House Trust still continues because of the health inequalities, stigma, and discrimination that people living with HIV continue to face today.

Darren Knight, Chief Executive at George House Trust, said: “Cheddar is an amazing ambassador, supporter, and friend of George House Trust. Cheddar understands how HIV has changed and how the stigma still exists, which was articulated during their appearance on Drag Race by shining a spotlight on HIV activism and the Act Up movement with that iconic pink triangle runway look.

Cheddar sporting the look on the runway. Image: Cheddar Gorgeous

“The way Cheddar uses their platform to educate people about HIV and Undetectable Equals Untransmissible is extraordinary and exactly what we love. We’re so grateful to Cheddar for exhibiting this piece of Drag Race and HIV history to showcase HIV activism, past and present, to Manchester’s LGBTQIA+ community.”

Cheddar Gorgeous’ Pink Triangle Outfit for HIV Awareness will be installed in The Refuge until the end of LGBTQIA+ history month. Kimpton Clocktower will also raise funds for George House Trust with a special cocktail called The Pink Triangle, with a donation of 50% from each drink purchased going to the charity.

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