From the moment that the fall 2022 drag show ended, I sighed a breath of fresh air. While I was extremely proud of the show (and the bomb performances), I was elated that it was over. It seemed like the hardest drag show I had planned was over. That was, until this show.
If you recall, I wrote a commentary about the planning process of the fall drag show. To make that article short – that show was hell to plan due to me being the sole showrunner/planner. There are a lot of things that go into planning a drag show – you have to look at every single aspect of every little thing going into this show (for example, the performers, the contracts, contacting sound/lighting, etc.). I was the only one (minus a little help here and there) working on the logistical side of the show, and I felt helpless.
I kept working on the show, despite my stress, due to how important it is to me that the show happened. Drag is an art that deserves to be appreciated and celebrated, not banned because of “corruption of the youth.” Overall, I am really proud of that show, but I made a promise to myself to not do the show this spring if I was the only one to plan it. Thankfully, help came in the form of a new executive council (that actually did their jobs).
So what makes this show “difficult” to plan? The difference between the spring 2023 and the fall 2022 show was the difference in the type of stress. While the stress of planning the drag show did not dissolve, it was much easier to manage (for the most part). I had plenty of help from several people, but especially DeVon Walker. He was there to help me with a lot of logistics, but it was his persistence and dedication that allowed Monét X Change to come to Drake.
This year ushered in a lot of anti-LGBT+ legislation and rhetoric across the nation – especially in Iowa. I am a queer person, and that is a fact that I am damn proud of. Thankfully, I am privileged enough to have a great, loving and welcoming community around me – but this is not the case for everyone. I have not (personally) experienced public prejudice for planning this show, but behind screens? Yeah. After posting a Yik Yak advertising the show, some people showed their true colors. In each of the posts that I made regarding this show, comments of prejudice (and overall negativity) came in.
What I find interesting about this is the anonymity of it – people are really damn bold when they know they won’t receive backlash for it. While queer people on this campus are being vocal and public about their struggles, anti-queer people approach it in a cowardly way. If you’re going to say harmful things about people, at least don’t be a wimp and remain anonymous. To be perfectly clear, I do not want more public hate towards queer people, but at least be bold enough to put your name with your bigoted comments.
I think it is especially critical now that this (and future) drag shows happen on Drake’s campus. As mentioned before, U.S. legislation has not been kind to LGBT+ people recently – in Iowa alone, there have been 25 anti-LGBT+ bills this session. This is extremely wrong on so many levels. With each bill that has been introduced, I felt another part of my American pride chip away. How can I help to fix this issue? Then I realized I know how to organize a drag show and drag is especially under attack. Why not bring it to Drake again?
People should not be banning drag shows – they are harmless and fun. If I can bring a fun show to Drake, it’ll help people relax for a bit (because we all need joy in our lives) and maybe encourage people to be open-minded (though that’s a bit of a stretch, but I can certainly pray).