By Da’Sha Tuck, Staff writer
A dash of nail polish, a pinch of hairspray, a hint of glamour and a heap of information was the recipe for Murray State Alliance’s annual Glamour Drag Show.
The Curris Center Ballroom was packed Thursday night. More than 260 tickets were sold.
Murray State Alliance is an on-campus organization focused on social support activism for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Racers.
For the first time in Murray State Alliance’s drag show history, the show was delayed because there weren’t enough chairs for all attendees.
Before the show began Nikolas Winslow, drag show director and sophomore from St. Louis, and this year’s host Trey Rawlings, alumnus from Paducah, Kentucky, said they were concerned there wouldn’t be enough people in the audience.
“Probably not having enough people in those seats would be the worst,” he said. “That can make or break a show and our performers deserve an interactive and lively audience.”
The Kings and Queens
With two performers canceling because of personal emergencies, Aubry La Shae Shannell, Gypsy Red, Blanche DuBois, Ryder Jones, Jay Byrd, Trinton St. Moore, Celeste Covington and Trey Rawlings were left to steal the show.
Gypsy Red, known as the Clown in the Gown, has been performing in drag for 25 years.
“Before I started in drag I was a circus clown,” she said. “Obviously, from that and wearing gowns is where my nickname Clown in the Gown came from.”
Gypsy Red has been coming to perform at Alliance’s drag shows for years. She said it really means a lot to her to be able to help out this “great organization.”
All proceeds from the drag show go straight toward supporting the Murray State Alliance. Without the proper funding, Alliance wouldn’t be able to function efficiently, Winslow said.
The Murray State News asked Gypsy Red how Murray State’s campus would be affected if Alliance did not exist. She said a huge hole would be left and the campus would lose its diversity.
Funding the Alliance
Alliance does not receive funding from LGBT Programming, Winslow said.
The organization hosts several events each year to help spread awareness and support for LGBT students.
Jody Cofer Randall, coordinator of LGBT Programming, said funding is extremely important, and it is events like the drag show that give Alliance the support it needs.
Knowing Your Status
Another first to this year’s drag show, Heartland CARES, Inc, HIV/AIDS Care, Prevention and Community Awareness, were present and providing free HIV screenings.
Heartland CARES was set up in the Cumberland Room, on the third floor of the Curris Center, from 6:30 p.m. until the end of the show.
Executive Director Sean Oslin took the stage in between sets during the first half of the show to reiterate how important it is for everyone to know their status.
He said Heartland CARES tries to make their services easily accessible to high risk crowds like homosexual individuals, intravenous drug users, those who have multiple sexual partners, commercial sex workers and those who have been victims of sexual abuse or assault.
Oslin said those who weren’t in those categories could help, too.
“For those of you who don’t fall into any of these categories, your job is to be supportive of those who do,” Oslin said. “Stigma is still a big issue.”
Trey Rawlings gave away roses as an incentive for those in the audience to go and get tested. Members of Alliance were offering to go, in support, with anyone who wanted to be tested.
Ending The Night
At the end of the night, the audience saw the kings and queens take the stage and perform well-known songs. They had been given roses, T-shirts, bracelets and information about Alliance.
Some students walked away with their first drag show experience.
“I had never been to a drag show,” said Alexis Ash, junior from Paducah, Kentucky. “I expected some really great songs, maybe some twerking and definitely a good time and that is exactly what I got.”
If anyone missed out on this semester’s drag show, there will be another one in the spring.
Anyone wanting to get involved with Alliance may contact Jody Cofer Randall, organization adviser, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I want people to not be afraid to be themselves and to remember that it takes more courage to accept someone that it does to reject them,” Trey Rawlings said.