All in Drag: GSA puts on annual show
The A-State community got their drag on Wednesday night at the third annual GSA Drag Show to benefit scholarships for LGBT students and supporters.
“There’s a lot of energy, the crowd gets really into it,” said Taylor Daniels, a junior pre-physical therapy biology major and GSA secretary. “It showcases the community.”
Ten queens—and one king—from the Paragould club Stardust performed for free at the show, and all admission, tip and t-shirt sale proceeds went to the GSA Scholarship fund for disenfranchised LGBT students.
“It’s our big fundraiser for the year,” said Jordan McBride, a junior mid-level education major of Jonesboro and vice president of the GSA.
Last year, the event raised over $700 for the GSA, according to faculty advisor Katherine Carrick of the department of social work.
The scholarship is awarded each year to a GSA member who is struggling with the repercussions of coming out or dealing with the negative stereotypes of homosexuality.
“When the organization started, we had a lot of students who were getting kicked out of their house or getting fired for being gay, so we try to use that money to help those students,” McBride said.
Since then, McBride said the A-State attitude toward LGBT students and supporters has improved considerably, but there is still more work to be done.
Daniels said she sees the LGBT community as recognized, but not necessarily celebrated.
“Even if people know about us, we’re still misunderstood,” she said. “We’re just like everybody else. We don’t have a gay agenda, we’re just trying to have the same lives as everyone else.”
The drag show is just one more way the GSA strives connect the LGBT and straight communities.
“It is mainly to get people and students involved, and get the local community aware that we have a GSA, a Gay-Straight Alliance, and that it’s open to anybody,” McBride said. “It’s to make people feel comfortable with themselves, however they like expressing themselves.”
Expression is key for the performance of drag, which is considered by many to be another form of theater.
“Drag is an important element in gay and lesbian culture,” Carrick said. “It’s a way to make us question what is enforced in the way of gender stereotypes and make us laugh at ourselves.”
Drag queen personality Allura, who performed Wednesday night, said she most enjoys the transformation and illusion of drag.
“I like being able to show people that drag is not taboo. It’s entertainment,” she said.
McBride said the Gay-Straight Alliance is just as important for LGBT supporters as it is for LGBT students.
“We always invite students if they have questions about what something means, or if they don’t understand something. We try to education people on LGBT issues,” she said.
GSA meetings are at 6 p.m. on Thursdays in 207 of the Eugene W. Smith building.
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