The Current Reign—Reign XXXV
H.M.I.S.M. Empress XXXV
Sugar B. Real
As Empress XXX and XXXV, I am humbled to represent the Imperial Court of NY once again. My experiences as Empress XXX, ongoing involvement with beneficiaries and continued visibility within the LGBTQ+ community is an advantage in these unprecedented times. The Imperial Court of NY has been family for the past 14 years; deciding to reign again was a decision from my heart.
Covid-19 had cause us to experience unpredicted life-altering changes. What I wanted for the ICNY, as an organization, was to keep moving forward and progressing – it is how we stay alive to help our most vulnerable within the community.
Sadly, we have suffered because of Covid. We had no choice but to social distance and wear masks to protect our loved ones. Unaware of how isolation would affect us both physically and mentally. We learned our strengths – We are resilient!
The Imperial Court System emerged out of a pandemic. I became committed during the AIDS crisis and remain so for the past 34 years as a Proud Ally!
While a social organization, more importantly, we are a fundraising organization. We needed to maintain our visibility so that beneficiaries and recipients knew that we were still here supporting them. We understood the need more than ever. We had to learn new methods to fundraising, leaving social gatherings behind and moving to virtual events. I am proud as we have succeeded more than once during the pandemic.
Our new normal has made a “more inclusive” organization. Virtual events include many ICS members, local drag performers and community partners, coming together for our beneficiaries. Our virtual fundraisers are seen around the world. Out of the ashes rises the Phoenix.
I love this organization and am proud to represent. The world is opening again, we continue to thrive, grow, and love. True joy lies in the act of giving.
Join me let’s come together and do what we do best.
She is Sugar B. Real, Empress XXXV, The Timeless Black Diamond, Pearl, and Ruby Rose Empress
H.M.I.S.M. Emperor XXX
Fredd E. Tree, know to family, friends and most people around the globe simply as TREE, was born in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York in 1939 to parents of Russian and Ukraine heritage. In 1967, Tree moved into an apartment in the Chelsea section of New York which he still lives in today!
Tree spent his formative years working as a newspaper delivery boy, a movie house usher and a cashier. Although he had hoped to follow in his father’s footsteps as a shepherd — no easy task in the Big Apple — Tree would go on to work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange; as a salesman in the exciting new world of cable television; and as a doorman at a local watering hole. One day, the owner and manager asked him if he would like to be a bartender. Tree’s answer — “I never made a drink and I don’t drink!” With a laugh, he was handed a bar rag and told he’d soon learn to do both. Forty-six years later, Tree is now known around the world as the affable bartender at the landmark Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street.
His status behind the bar isn’t what makes the Stonewall Inn so important to Tree. It was at that bar, in June of 1969, that Tree became a witness to, no, a part of our collective history. Despite having been through many police raids of the known gay bars, Tree and his friends, Charlie and Frank, had no idea that their night of dancing at the Stonewall Inn was going to put them right in the middle of the raid of all raids. They broke windows; threw rocks and bottles at the fearful police barricaded inside; and freed a paddy wagon full of their compatriots. They had no fear that night: luckily none of them was arrested.
Because of his involvement in the Stonewall Riots, Tree has been interviewed by CNN, television stations all over the New York Metro area, countless newspapers and magazines and even by newspapers and television stations around the globe. Tree has been a featured subject of a few documentaries. Tree has been Grand Marshall of a number of pride parades and has been an honored guest at the opening of several LGBTQ centers. Tree has given lectures at numerous high schools and colleges across the country on the history of gay life before the Stonewall Riots. He has been honored by several states, Stonewall United Kingdom, City Council, and State Senators. Today, he can still be found behind the bar at The Stonewall Inn. He has no intention of retiring anytime soon.
He is Sir Tree, Emperor XXX, The Double Eagle Stonewall Emperor of Samovars, Sambas, and Sensibility.