In a collaboration with Sykes After Dark, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Ally (LGBTQA) Services held their annual drag show in the Sykes ballrooms on Friday, April 15. While the doors opened at 9 p.m., the event officially began around 9:30 p.m.
Jaidynn Diore Fierce, who appeared on the seventh season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” was this year’s host. As displayed in their flyer, the theme of the drag show was “boy bands, girl groups, and one-hit wonders.”
The drag show primarily consisted of performances done by students, and people of all genders were encouraged to partake. Along with several dances put on by Fierce, there was also a guest drag performer from Más.
According to Malik Muhammad, the graduate assistant for the Office of LGBTQA Services, it took about a month and a half to organize the drag show. He emphasized how Megan DiGregory, the graduate assistant for Sykes After Dark, and the drag show committee were essential to planning the event. He also explained that students were responsible for choosing Fierce as the host.
“We gave them a list of potential hosts, and [Fierce] was at the top of their list. Sykes After Dark approved and paid for them to be here,” said Muhammad. “[Fierce] was absolutely amazing to work with. I had the pleasure of picking them up from the airport and hanging out for a good part of the day. They are so down to earth, loving, open-minded, and, of course, fierce.”
The drag show was also a competition, with contestants being judged by Dr. Michael Boyle, professor in the Department of Communication Studies; Dr. Merry Perry, associate professor in the Department of English; Alicia Hahn-Murphy, director of the Women’s Center; Sherry Mendez, director of Wellness Promotion; and Chris Trombetta, recent WCU graduate and the first-place winner of last year’s show.
“Celine Cuisine” received third place, while improv team Deep Dish Pizzazz won second place. Chris McGovern, senior and peer educator for LGBTQA Services, was named as this year’s first-place winner. McGovern had performed to Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”
“This year’s drag show was an absolutely amazing event,” said McGovern. “All of the performers were incredible and their creativity and confidence truly inspires me.”
According to McGovern, he was “a nervous wreck all week leading up to the show” as it was his first time performing.
“My friends and loved ones are what kept me going, and I am so thankful for them,” said McGovern. “Drag is one of my favorite parts of the queer community, and I am so glad we get to experience it on campus every year.”
Deni Tobin, junior and public relations chair on the LGBTQA executive board, said that they were “so happy” when McGovern was declared the winner.
“I know he spent a lot of time sewing his skirt for the performance, and he truly deserved first place,” said Tobin.
Tobin has attended the drag show every year since they were a freshman and participated in last year’s event, placing second.
“Still, I think this one was my favorite. The energy in the room was amazing, and everyone was ready to cheer on all the brave performers,” said Tobin. “I am so glad I went and so glad so many others were so excited to help, watch, and participate.”
Once the event had concluded, there was a brief meet and greet with Fierce outside of the ballrooms.
Muhammad expressed his pride in the students that attended and performed in the drag show.
“My favorite part of the show would have to have been watching the students I have been working with for a few years now get up on that stage and strut their stuff,” said Muhammad. “It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of a large crowd and do crowd, and they all did it effortlessly.”
According to Muhammad, he appreciated how “the audience was full of energy,” and he hopes to see even more attendees next year.
Casey Tobias is a second-year student majoring in women’s and gender studies and communication studies with minors in journalism and German. Contact her at CT822683@wcupa.edu. Her Twitter is @Casey__Tobias.