False eyelashes, thigh-high boots, dresses and wigs are only a few of the things you’ll see if you attend this year’s PRIDE-sponsored Drag Show fundraiser. Tonight’s performance will feature drag entertainment by a variety of amateur and professional drag queens and kings.
PRIDE (People Respecting Individual Diversity and Equality) is an LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allied) organization at USF that brings awareness and understanding of the gay community to students. Last year, more than 200 people attended the event.
“The purpose of the Drag Show fundraiser is to allow members of the student body to experience that side of gay culture in a non-threatening environment while also creating a better understanding of this culture,” said Ashlie Scott, a freshman majoring in nursing and vice president of the PRIDE alliance.
Drag shows are a form of entertainment in which men and/or women, either alone or in groups, wear elaborate costumes and makeup to perform songs, lip-synchs, monologues and skits.
Don’t assume that drag performers are always men in dresses lip-synching to Cher. Drag performance is seen as art in many cultures all over the world, and drag artists are of all genders and sexualities. In Shakespeare’s England, many male actors cross-dressed to play female roles women were not allowed to fill. In America, drag artists have appeared in television and films (such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show) as well as music.
“It takes me 45 minutes to an hour just to apply my eye makeup,” said Joel Swartz, junior women studies major and drag queen. “I look for any excuse to put on a dress, but I don’t really feel in character until I put on my wig. Every performer has a certain accessory that they favor.”
The show takes place in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Ballroom from 7-9 p.m., and the PRIDE alliance will accept donations at the door.