Blunt speeches add to cross-dressing event
Santa Clara students talked straight about being gay this weekend at the annual Drag Show. Participants shined, comfortable in their own skin, as they performed harmlessly risque routines, vibing off the crowd’s cheers and showing a more fun side of the LGBT community.
“Because it’s open to campus, the students that come to Drag Show want to know about drag and care about the LGBT community,” said sophomore performer Ryan Quakenbush. “Everyone was there to have a good time.”
Gay and Straight People Educating for Diversity organized the free event, dubbed “Road to the Runway.” The night included performances by Santa Clara Queer, women’s rugby and others, integrated with revealing confessions.
“We’re focusing on why drag culture exists,” said junior Piper Thomasson, the incoming program coordinator. “Really it’s just a way for people to express themselves and have some fun.”
The Locatelli Center featured a high percentage of audience members in drag, who paraded down the runway to open the show. Throughout the night, clips from the documentary “Paris Is Burning” detailed the many manifestations of this intricately expressive form of art.
Junior Glen Bradley— aka Miss Peacock Featherbottom — shared his experiences of internalized homophobia and why pride in the LGBT community matters, holding the audience in rapturous silence.
“The good times are easy for us to see and tell,” Bradley said during his monologue. “We like them. We want to see them. It’s the painful stories that often go untold because we don’t want to hear them.”
Though the Drag Show teaches and entertains, it has also attracted scrutiny from traditional Catholic organizations. Last year, Santa Clara administration banned a professional drag queen from performing, citing an “expressive activities” clause designed to deflect controversy. Learning from that minor fiasco, this year’s show ran more smoothly.
“It’s been a lot easier just because we opened the lines of communication a little earlier,” Thomasson said. “Our motives and our desires for why we wanted to do the things we’re doing are understood, as well as how they actually do fit into those Jesuit principles of educating us and being open to other people’s perspectives.”
The closing number invited everyone to get on stage and dance, and the Drag Show proved just how much Santa Clara can gain when the LGBT community is welcomed.
“Even though we are a Catholic university, we still value diversity, we still value our students,” Quakenbush said. “It’s a good thing we get to showcase what makes us special.”
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