The U-Club stage was home to dances, vocal performances, glitter, and several high kicks into splits this Wednesday night as nearly 50 Pitt State students got the opportunity to watch their local drag queens entertain alongside PSU student performers.
The Drag Show took place on Wednesday, April 17th at 7 p.m. in the Overman Student Center’s U-Club. The event was free for all PSU students. The event was one of several celebrations for Pride Month hosted by PRISM.
“I love just being able to show people in the community that the option is there for this art…” said Matthew Blunt, who goes by Roxanne Kennedy onstage. “They’re not the only ones. It’s great when the college allows itself to be a part of it, to open up for the people in the area that even if it’s not… the biggest metropolitan area, but we have events here for people like them.”
The PSU PRISM organization serves to give support to LGBTQIA+ students and community members through activism and celebratory activities.
“I got involved because I wanted to help promote PRISM and have a lot of fun doing it,” said Violet Jackson, sophomore in interior design, and one of the student performers. “I want people to take away that there is no limitation on who can be a drag queen/king, you just (got to) be able to flaunt it!”
Throughout the month of April, PRISM is set to host six events, including a movie showing, a visibility walk, Pride Prom, and a Day of Silence ceremony.
“Honestly, it really lived up to my expectations,” said Rachel Reeder, junior in early childhood unified education, who came to watch the show. “I know a lot of the people that were in it and I’ve gotten to meet one of the drag queens, so it was just really cool to see how awesome it all turned out.”
The performers engaged with the audience and accepted tips. Of the eight performers, three were professional drag queens and five were PSU students.
“I’m actually a member of PRISM,” Reeder said. “I think my favorite part was just getting to see all the people that you don’t normally see getting involved, it was awesome.”
The performers met together several times to rehearse, and the drag queens attended PRISM meetings leading up to the show.
“I have anxiety performing in front of small groups of people,” Jackson said. “My anxiety almost got the best of me and almost caused me to quit the drag show. However, I did one more run through of my act and one of my friends proclaimed, ‘Okay, I just became a lesbian,’ and that oddly gave me a lot of confidence in myself.”
PRISM has hosted a Drag Show for the past 10 years, and Blunt says it has only grown in its time at PSU. The performer hopes to see PRISM, as well as the Drag Show, continue to expand.
“PRISM is great,” Blunt said. “I wish that over the next couple of years they get bigger and have more support from the college; I’d really like to get the theater in on it. Years past, PRISM has had another student committee coincide with them, so they were able to bring in bigger names, so that was awesome. So, I hope in the next few years we can go bigger and get in the theater.”
PRISM informs LGBTQIA+ members, supporters, and allies on historical and current issues regarding LGBTQIA+ individuals and movements and creates welcoming, safe, and supportive social gatherings, and to support national and local inclusion programs.
“I think it really gives a sense of understanding and acceptance, and just a really positive vibe on the entire LGBTQ+ community,” Reeder said. “I think it’s just a fun way for everyone to get to experience this.”