Today: Apr 14, 2024

PRISM hosts Drag Ball at SCSU

BRITTANY MONTAGUE Special to The Southern News

At last week’s Drag Ball, drag contestants along with members of Southern’s LBGT Prism proved heels weren’t made just for women to walk in, and that there is more to drag than meets the eye.

“I’ve been doing drag for seven years this December,” said contestant Madison Lee, “and I don’t know how you women do it. Wearing heels and a bra never get easier.”

Performing at the beginning of her career in drag at the POLO club in Hartford, Lee has a lot of experience.

With the success of the first Drag Ball last year, LBGT Prism president Kelsey Christian said the club decided to make it an annual thing, and continue tradition this year.

“It’s very timely,” she said “World AIDS Day is tomorrow and this is a good way to do our part to bring about awareness, education and it still be entertaining and fun.”

The Drag Ball was free for students and contestants, with all donations from the event going to various AIDS charities in New Haven.

“The purpose of the ball goes even further, when combined with the cause and donations,” said Christian, “[drag queens] are not weird people—it’s an art form.”

Upon entering the Drag Ball, LBGT handed out red ribbons in support of World AIDS Day. At the scheduled starting time of the Drag Ball, many seats were still available, so the event got underway a little later in anticipation of more people attending.

Journalism major and member of LBGT Prism Anne Marie Lagnexe, said hearing what she heard upon entering is what might have made some hesitant about attending.

“I heard some people down the hall that don’t support the community, saying ‘don’t go in there all the gays are in there,’” said Lagnexe.

Lagnexe said similar to the history of how people used to believe AIDS was contracted through affiliation or touch, that is how some view sexual orientation.

“You can’t catch gayness, and some people think that by associating yourself you will become gay, or that we will spread it,” said Lagnexe.

Lagnexe said the significance and importance of doing an event like this is to help change the way some people view sexual orientation.

“Through this, we can help create tolerance and diversity,” she said.

As a member of New Haven’s GLESN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) an organization that works with educators, policy makers, community leaders and students on the need to address anti-LGBT behavior and bias in schools, Thomas Cosgrove, said he was there for many reasons.

“I came last year, I’m here in support of the ball, because it allows people to express themselves, and because it’s very entertaining,” he said.

At the start of the performances, not only was the ballroom packed, with no more seats available, but the crowd was dancing and getting involved.

Making it to the top 25 on RuPaul’s Drag Race reality show, Lee said one of the most fulfilling things about doing drag is the creative outlet it allows you to have.

“I love the attention,” said Lee. She preformed to mix of pop singer Kesha’s latest hits, wearing a fitted red dress, black heels, red lipstick, and a black wig.

Pointing to the crowd, swinging her hips, blowing kisses is how she got everyone involved.

Lee said there is a need for drag, due to ignorance.

“I would say something not-so-positive and sad about drag, is how I’m 30-years-old and in performing at various places I still meet people who have never met a gay person before,” said Lee.

But what many who don’t understand or agree with drag don’t know, is that drag is a part of history.

According to the Socialist Alternative website, on June 28, 1969, while raiding a gay bar, police attempted to remove a male dressed as a woman from the bar.

On this particular night the man decided to fight back, sparking The Stonewall Riots, which were violent demonstrations against at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.

“People in the crowd started shouting ‘Gay Power!’ As word spread through Greenwich Village and across the city, hundreds of gay men and lesbians, black, white, Hispanic, and predominantly working class, converged on Christopher Street area around the Stonewall Inn,” according to the website.

A chorus line of mocking queens, their arms clasped around each other, kicking their heels in the air Rockettes-style and singing: “We are the Stonewall girls, We wear our hair in curls, We wear no underwear, We show our pubic hair…We wear our dungarees above our nelly knees,” according to the Socialist Alternative website.

New York City was inspired and led by drag queens, and, in part for this reason, drag queens remain a tradition at gay pride events.

During the next year or so, lesbians and gay men built a Gay Liberation Front (GLF) or comparable body in Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Australia and New Zealand, according to the website.

Students who came dressed in drag were invited on stage to participate and showcase their drag talents, in hope of winning a meal gift certificate.

The event also featured a DJ, glow stick and Mardi Gras bead giveaways, and free food.

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