People of all genders and backgrounds came together to support the drag queens and kings onstage at the Geneseo Pride Alliance’s Drag Ball on Saturday April 1 as they lip-synched songs and performed perfectly choreographed dance routines.
Though some might question the relevance of a drag ball on a college campus, this event is more important than ever in understanding the spectrum of gender and the importance of LGBTQ+ self-validation on the Geneseo campus.
Through the annual Drag Ball, this exposure to LGBTQ+ culture is often the first of many times students witness a surge of pride.Though these events were once seen as a fun way for people to connect with others on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, the modern drag ball has many different connotations.
After drag laid the groundwork for “the creation and maintenance of LGBTQ culture,” modern drag has only expanded on its original mission, creating a group of diverse people coming together to celebrate gender in all its forms.
While many groups and individuals on campus have taken strides to make Geneseo a more welcoming community—including the use of all-gender restrooms and the advocating of pronoun preference—the current political atmosphere leaves many Americans uncomfortable with this renewed sense of gender expression.
It is because of events like the Drag Ball—which occur in locations across the world—that awareness for LGBTQ+ people is promoted, thus allowing members of this community to feel encouraged to be themselves.
After this year’s Drag ball, I was astounded to see how many people felt empowered by the performances, which they demonstrated through Facebook posts, Instagram photos and Snapchats. Everywhere I looked, attendees were in awe of the sheer beauty of the drag performances and posting about the event through social media.
Watching these individuals perform with so much heart and soul shook the audience to their very core.
From loud, high-energy performances to quiet, heart-wrenching ballads, the queens and kings all had a similar message in their performances: we are here and we are strong.
For some students, the only exposure they may have had to the drag community was through the TV show “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” which has done well to expand on the issues many drag performers have faced, including facets of LGBTQ+ culture that many people may not think about.
Each performer has their own reason for getting on stage. Drag is significant to performers, as highlighted by Vice.com; to them, this is their way to hit back against society—to be their full selves and to challenge ideas of beauty and gender.
Whatever the reason, the inclusion of drag on college campuses continues to promote LGBTQ+ awareness, allowing a safe space for people to express themselves on stage.