Drag Ball celebrates diverse community


J’Mari HughesReporter

On April 9, Southern’s LGBTQIA+ Prism hosted its 9th annual Drag Ball in the Adanti Student Center ballroom. Drag queens from New Haven and out of state came to dance, lip-sync and model for Southern students, who were given pride flags as well as free food and drinks.

“It’s a time and place where people can actually dance and show their true self,” said Prism club president Josh Garcia, “and it’s a way where people who have never experienced drag get to learn more about the community.”

Garcia, a junior recreation and leisure major, said the original Prism club members brought the performances to Southern to further drag representation throughout campus. Having the event, he said, helps local drag performers get their name out and make money, as some of them live off their tips.

Performers included Ava Cado, Karelys Bleau, and ball host Xiomarie LaBeija began the show shouting from backstage “SC!” for the audience to respond “SU!” LaBeija later emerged from closed doors in a bright orange leotard and giant curly wig, to Christina Aguilera’s “Enter the Circus” among a mixture of other songs.

As well as strutting to songs like “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj and “Grown Woman” by Beyoncé, the queens cartwheeled, death dropped, and hit the splits for the entertainment of students and New Haven citizens, who Snapchatted the events and held out dollar bills for them to take. Drag queen and audience member, Klits Jenner, said splits are his favorite because they always leave people wondering how he gets into them.

“I love drag because you can get yourself out there. You get to see different elements of everyone’s personality,” he said. “It opens your mind to things that you wouldn’t typically see.”

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The queens also had the opportunity to donate their offerings to A Place to Nourish Your Health, an organization that helps LGBT people find treatment and helps detect HIV or AIDS. Garcia said the program has been a big help to those in the LGBT community, so PRISM decided to give back.

Juniors and special education majors Anna Cullen and Emma Schober, who love Ru Paul’s Drag Race, said it is their tradition to attend the drag ball, which they started their freshman year.

“They’re so powerful, they transform into this other person and it’s so cool to me,” Cullen said. “Everyone’s really accepting and warm and welcoming to everyone who comes in.”

Despite Southern being an accepting community, Schober said, there is still a little bias, so the drag ball is a place where people could come see how fun and accepting everyone is.

LaBeija, who later donned a rainbow one piece and fishnet tights, asked the audience who was attending their first drag show, to which more than half raised their hands. Garcia said students should attend events such as this not only because it is a fun occasion that is free, but also because it allows them to learn more about the LGBT community.

She said thank you to everyone who came, as the drag ball shows people who Prism is as an organization, and it also helps these local performers get their name out. These are the types of gigs that help them succeed in the drag community, he said.

“On Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” said Cullen, “he always says that when people discover drag, they find their inner self.

Photo Credit: Izzy Manzo

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