Sounds of laughter and pop music echoed through Craig Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 27 as the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) held their first ever drag show.
In honor of October being LGBT History Month, the organization held an event each week in celebration. The first week’s activities included an “Ask Me Anything” and bake sale. The second week an LGBT art show and silent auction was held. The third week the club hosted Rain Dove, a non-binary model who gave a keynote speech to students. To close out the month of activities with a bang, the drag show was the last event of the month.
Featured performers included Nathan Stitt as Ms. Amanda Love and Jacob Liles as Raven Jade DeClair Whitney. The show included lip sync and comedy performances from both queens, an impromptu lip sync competition and a Q&A session.
“What I hope people took from this is that it’s an art form,” Jared Mnich, Co-President of the GSA said. “It’s a way of self expression and it allows you to have fun with life and yourself, and to not make things so serious.”
Performances ranged from upbeat pop music and ballads about self expression and identity to a spoken word piece done by Ms. Amanda Love. The performers running up and down the stairs and energetic dance moves kept the audience entertained and clapping along.
Student Niko Horton said he saw the show as self expression in the form of dancing, costumes and makeup and will be attending more drag shows in the future after seeing this one.
Throughout the show, attendees received a brief lesson on the history of drag and its significance in the LGBT community. During the Q&A, questions were answered about the drag, gender and sexuality, the process of becoming a drag queen and the different types of drag performances.
“It’s a great feeling to come here and perform for you guys and show a different and younger crowd and let them experience drag for either the first time or see a different side of drag,” Liles said. “I think it’s a brilliant thing to have these types of shows at campuses because it’s showing diversity.”
During the lip sync competition, members of the audience were encouraged to participate and try out drag for themselves, putting on wigs and strutting around the auditorium. Stitt said they like to have open shows such as this one because it allows people to express their identity and try drag while in a safe space.
“It’s definitely one of the last taboos when it comes to gender,” Stitt said. “It shows that you can be who you want, when you want, where you want, how you want. Whether you want to do it sometimes, all the time or just at Halloween. It’s a very powerful tool, especially in the LGBT community.”