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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

GSC-sponsored drag show returns to campus, huge hit with prospies

<iday April 8th Carleton hosted a bedazzled, theatrical celebration of sexuality and the ambiguity of gender, or what is better known as the annual Drag Show.  The show featured a group of six professional Minneapolis-based Drag performers called Dragmanity.

Including a diverse medley of musical numbers ranging from Pink to Adele, the performance was characterized by glamorous outfits, energetic dance routines and provocative commentary. 

The student audience played an active role in the performance, offering up dollar bills in exchange for a kiss or a sultry stare and at points joining the performers on stage to declare their relationship status. As Drag Queen Martina Marachiano said, “the show is dependent on the unity between the audience and the performers.”

The show was preceded by a panel hosted by the Gender & Sexuality Center, in which the performers described their various experiences of and approaches to drag. Students were welcome to ask questions and the performers insisted that they were willing to speak openly about their sexual identity, stance on questions of sexual orientation and past experiences orientation and past experiences with drag and finding a supportive likeminded community.
Dragmanity aims to present drag as a fine art that is meant to serve both as entertainment and as a medium for advancing social justice. Lead organizer of Dragmanity Esme Rodriguez said, “Drag helps me embrace the fluidity of my gender and demonstrates that gender is not binary.” 

The group explained that drag is meant to insight desire on many different levels. For instance, one of the group’s signature routines begins with a performer dressed in men’s clothing and as the act continues the performer transforms into women’s clothes. Rodriguez said, “Drag leads to questions and that is why it sometimes cause people to feel uncomfortable.” 

In response to student questions, the troupe described drag as, “not simply dressing as the opposite sex or as the opposite sex of which you identify” but instead as a way of  “developing a character that can incorporate many aspects of your gender identity.”

Each of the performers has a drag name and a distinct character of their drag persona. For instance, Seth Gabrielle explained that in his daily life he was a happily married gay man yet in drag he transforms into Gabriella, a straight woman who has a taste for classic musical numbers.

The performers described the process of developing and realizing their drag character as lengthy and complex. Performer JoJo Mackie said, “You don’t just wake up one day and know who your character is, it’s something that comes together over time.” 

Though the performers exhibited excitement over the heightened publicity Drag culture has received in the past few years, much as a consequence of the popular RuPaul’s Drag Race show, they agreed that media tends to generalize about drag queens. Rodriguez said “This is a problematic assumption as individuals that participate in drag as well as their subsequent drag characters are unique.” Her fellow performer Gabriella chimed in to add that “There are even straight drag queens and kings! ”

The Drag show was hosted by the GSC in celebration of the annual Pride Month.  

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