Sparkling sequins and glamorous outfits ruled the MacVittie College Union Ballroom with the Pride Alliance-run and Geneseo Late Knight-sponsored Drag Ball on Saturday April 1. Student performers, professional drag queens and even a few newcomers to the art of drag came to strut their stuff on and off the stage with over 400 attendees to watch.
Those unfamiliar with drag performances before might have felt a little shocked at first to experience the queens’ raunchy humor. They picked through the crowd, generously commenting on student’s physicality and making sly innuendos. The songs that they lip-synched weren’t anything to bring home to your mother, either—they were as loud and unapologetically brash as the queens themselves.
If attendees felt uncomfortable about all of this, however, it didn’t show. Screaming and encouraging the queens—who flounced, bounced and death dropped their way across the stage—created community across attending students and participants. The kind of atmosphere that many professors try to start in their classes over the course of a semester, drag queens grabbing their fake boobs and honking created within minutes.
While the chance to see student performances and professional drag queens live on stage was tantalizing enough to draw in large crowds, the headliner of the event was the chance to see former “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” contestant Joslyn Fox perform.
Her loud outfit included a gold jumpsuit that glittered in the ballroom light and cross earrings that channeled Madonna. When paired with her sultry performance, Fox captivated the expectant audience when she opened and closed the show.
But Fox’s performances weren’t the only notable part of her time on the ballroom stage. In between her songs, she spoke about politics—particularly, how the person who drove her to the event was a kind woman whom she had a long, personal conversation with.
When she looked in the back of the woman’s car, she noticed a Trump bumper sticker. Fox said that it made her realize that many people have a lot of things going on in their lives and even with the current state of American politics, we shouldn’t shun other people.
“We are all brothers and sisters because of our human bond,” Fox said.
Politics took center stage several times throughout the night, as performers made references to movements such as Black Lives Matter. One queen commented that if people were willing to attend tonight’s event, then they should have no problem attending BLM marches or defending trans people of color. Their statement was met with a roar of cheers.
Drag balls have historically created and nurtured the LGBTQ+ community, even in times of severe repression. Protecting and rallying for the rights of minorities is as integral to a drag ball as are outrageous performances.
GLK employee and childhood with special education major sophomore Dylan Fichera summed the event up best.
“This is such a welcoming and accepting atmosphere,” Fichera said. “This brings a lot of people together.”
It might seem silly and downright unbelievable to the unaware observer, but these loud and proud queens remind minority communities and Geneseo at large to be loud in turn and to have our voices heard.