Therapist by Day, Drag Socialite by Night | Caretakers Ep. 2

Aleksa is a genderqueer performer and multiple drag pageant winner who is also a therapist and healthcare worker. Since COVID-19 began, she has been offering virtual mental health therapy, working for the city of Seattle and, independently, in-person therapy with new safety protocols. One side of Aleksa’s office is her mental health practice, while the other half is where she does her virtual drag. How do these two vocations influence one another? This episode also introduces members of Aleksa’s drag family, The House of Manila, and underlines the connection of her life and work to the pre-colonial history of “Babaylan” transpiritual healers in Filipino culture.

This is the second episode of “Caretakers,” a four-part series on Filipino nurses and care workers in the U.S.

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Caretakers: Filipino Nurses and Care Workers in the United States

Despite representing only 4% of the total U.S. nursing workforce, Filipinos constitute over 30% of total COVID-related deaths among registered nurses.*

In honor of Filipino American History Month, Caretakers looks at the history of Filipinos in care work and profiles Filipino Americans on the front lines today. According to Caretakers’ creator Geena Rocero, the four-part docuseries shows “Filipinos as we are, and tells the stories of not just nurses, but all types of people providing vital care.”

Watch the stories of nurse Belinda Ellis, who cared for COVID patients at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens; therapist and drag mother of House of Manila, Aleksa Manila; Chef Channing Centeno, who cooked for Black Lives Matter protestors; and phlebotomist Angel Bonilla, the first trans contestant on The Voice.

  • *source: Insider, CNN 2020