Interview answers by Fine China.
Photos by Alexandra Kacha.
Named after Dolly Parton’s hit song and in possession of all the glitter, hairspray, and glamour the beloved namesake could ever desire, Jolene is the country’s first-ever trans-inclusive strip night. It also happens to be the most buzzed-about event in Los Angeles right now.
Salty spoke to founder Fine China to get the inside scoop — and an insider’s view of what a night at Jolene looks like. Check it out.
Tell us about yourself.
I dance as Fine China — aka @ethicaldrvgs on Instagram — and I perform a lot in queer spaces. I’m a trans woman who started dancing because when I first stepped in my first strip club ever, the first year I started this process, I ended up at Jumbo’s and was simply in awe. I thought it was so transgressive that these dancers were owning their femininity onstage and I wanted to be able to do the same as a woman of trans experience.
Why Did you start Jolene?
I started this night because I wanted (and needed) a place to dance, and I was unhappy with the treatment of trans women at the only other place for me to perform. I’m really lucky and grateful that there were so many people, so many trans and cis women, who told me that if I’m not happy with what’s being served at the table then I can make my own.
I wanted to have a place that could cater to both types of hustles — stage sets and private dances — so dancers had the option to work on whichever hustle they prefer. I hope that this space exists as a safe place for people to see that it’s okay to be attracted to whoever you’re attracted to and realize that these harmful social stigmas are complete bullshit.
I hope that this space exists as a safe place for people to see that it’s okay to be attracted to whoever you’re attracted to and realize that these harmful social stigmas are complete bullshit.
I’m not doing anything new; trans women have been dancing stealth in strip clubs for a very long time. I am just celebrating trans women in spaces where so many have had to be secretive. Eventually, I want to expand into making more spaces for the broader queer community. But for right now, I want to uplift trans women of color, the most marginalized and silenced community. Once we accomplish that, we can push for more.
“I’m not doing anything new; trans women have been dancing stealth in strip clubs for a very long time.”
The next Jolene event is on November 27, 2019 at Madam Siam in Hollywood.