SAGA hosts annual Amateur Drag Show

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The Appalachian Online

Kelsey Hamm

The Sexuality and Gender Alliance will put on its annual fall Amateur Drag Show on Thursday at 7:30 p.m in the Parkway Ballroom of the Plemmons Student Union.

The theme of this year’s show is musical legends, which will have performers bring life to some of the iconic artists and songs of all time.  The show will feature seven performances, including solo acts, duets, trios and quintets, said Jerry Yelton, the SAGA Vice President of Community Outreach. Every performer will be making their drag show debut.

“The competition categories are Mr. and Miss Appalachian, one title for a queen and one title for a king,” Yelton said. “The five judges are figures from around the Appalachian community, all of whom have shown dedication to the LGBTQ community by making certain that they have a home in the Appalachian Family.”

The event in previous years has been either sold out or near maximum capacity. This year’s show will last two hours, and audience members will be allowed to tip performers throughout the night.

Kate Rawson, a junior psychology major and first time drag show performer, never would have participated if it wasn’t for the support of SAGA and the LGBT community.

“I think attending a drag show can be uncomfortable the first time, but this is good because [attending] makes you question your definitions of acceptable gender expression,” Rawson said. “Most importantly, this event shows that anyone is free to be themselves, or someone else, and have a great time doing it. The audience is sure to have a blast.”

Yelton said the drag show and other events hosted by SAGA, TRANSaction and the LGBT Center are important for showing students of all sexual and gender minorities that they have a place and a home at Appalachian, in conjunction with the organizations’ goal to provide students with a place to be themselves without judgment.

“Drag allows people to engage themselves in manners that may not be societally ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ under other circumstances,” Yelton said. “We are here to provide a time for students to explore the gendered norms that have been created on male and female genders. This is a time to break down barriers and let people simply have fun and enjoy themselves.”

Sophomore biology major Matt Brown attended the Amateur Drag Show last year and found the event to be educational about gender identity.

“I think many people have a view of gender as either male or female,” Brown said. “It can be much more complex than that. Gender is fluid, and what you are physically can be much different than how you identify mentally.”

Yelton hopes that the presence of SAGA and other campus LGBT organizations will continue to foster an inclusive and safe environment for Appalachian students, for those that identify within the LGBTQ community and as allies.

“We need to continue striving toward better inclusion of trans-persons and less known genders and sexual identities,” Yelton said. “But, we are making the beginning steps to make differences one day at a time.”

Story: Kelsey Hamm, Intern A&E Reporter