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Sashay away: Rainbow Union drag show blows students away

Photo by Grace Altenhofen | EIC

When I first heard that Drake held drag shows, I was in disbelief. I was in denial that students (who were not much older then me) were able to create and plan a show that is this big and relevant to the queer community. However, once I began to be the one planning the shows, I began to see why more colleges do not do a drag show (at least from a planning perspective). As much as I love planning and putting together these drag shows, it is very taxing. 

This semester is my second one in the role of president for Rainbow Union, and it has been something that challenged me and encouraged me to continue to raise queer awareness here at Drake. The drag show is the biggest thing that Rainbow Union does for the greater Drake campus. While all of our meetings have an open-door policy, it rarely pulls those who are not in Rainbow Union to the meetings. 

In our weekly meetings, we have people present and talk about a variety of queer topics (which can range from serious – like HIV/AIDS – to fun – like why the muppets are gay. While I helped to plan the fall 2021 show and had some clue as to what I was doing because of the spring 2022 show, I was not expecting to plan a show basically by myself  (minus the few things I asked for help with). This was not the case with the spring 2022 show – that one I had one other person helping me. However, I braced myself very early into the year for being alone in the planning process. 

Finding the performers is the best part of the planning process. I love getting to dive into drag performers and imagining them here at Drake. Thankfully, I was able to find lovely performers that fit perfectly for my idea of the show this semester. They were helpful and incredibly kind. When I was freaking out backstage, they were the ones to help me calm down and remember that things are going to work out in the end. I cannot begin to express how awesome it is to work with the performers – this is just a peek into it! Drag performers in general, tend to be the best and most kind people to work with. 

The thing that scared me the most about the show was the day of the performance, actually. Anyone who has planned a big event understands what and/or why I am feeling this way. Anytime something small fell apart, I felt like the whole show itself was going to fall apart. Perhaps that is a quirk of my personality – pairing the success of the things I organize to my worth – but it was my reality at the time. However, help during the day was exactly needed. Thankfully, Rainbow Union’s general membership was able to help me with the day of anxiety. 

This semester, we raised $570 for Iowa SafeSchools. While the number seems small, I am still proud of the good work that we were able to do to help those who need it. Perhaps next semester, I can look at donating to other organizations, but that is a later Rachel issue. 

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