The University’s drag show broke attendance records this semester, and I couldn’t be more happy for Baton Rouge’s LGBTQ community.
“Divas’ Live 4: A Drag Show” had more than 400 attendees in the Student Union Ballroom on Oct. 24. Some people had to stand because the room was packed. In previous years, the largest crowd was around 112 attendees.
On-campus organizations Multicultural Affairs, Residential Life, Louisiana Transgender Advocates and the LGBTQ Project at LSU organized the University’s fourth drag show.
The show drew people with different sexualities. This implicates cisgender students, who identify as heterosexual, are willing to support safe spaces where LGBTQ students can freely express themselves without harsh criticism.
Students, with different sexualities, are advocating for LGBTQ rights and normalizing sexualities that aren’t heterosexual.
It’s essential for students to continue raising awareness about discrimination towards this community. The best strategy is using creativity or art, like drag shows, to highlight the beauty within the community.
Last year, Feminists in Action at LSU hosted “DRAG Me Out of This Political Climate.” The organization’s goal was to give attendees an opportunity to satirically escape the U.S.’s political climate. Five local Baton Rouge drag queens performed.
The show included different types of queens, instead of white, cisgender male drag queens who usually perform in shoes like this one.
Louisiana Queer Conference hosted “Queer After Party” for conference members. LAQC is an annual event held by on-campus organizations Spectrum, Queer Students of Color and the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs.
The conference began in 2011 to provide leadership development, networking opportunities and social support to LGBTQ college students and their allies in Louisiana.
Many of the drag queens in these shows attend or graduated from the University.
“Drag” is believed to have originated from theatre. Men, who began playing female roles in the 17th century, discussed how their costume dresses would “drag” across the floor.
This art form became individualized when female impersonation became popular in American culture through a genre known as vaudeville.
Vaudeville mixes comedy, music, dance and burlesque to create an offbeat type of live entertainment. The genre introduced the first drag queen,Julian Eltinge, into American mainstream entertainment.
In today’s society, drag shows like “Rupaul’s Drag Race” help destigmatize the scrutiny inflicted on members a part of the LGBTQ community.
This televised and successful show has high ratings. Shows like “Rupaul’s Drag Race” inspire members of the LGBTQ community to organize local shows in their cities and encourage them to express the importance of self-love.
The key message of the LGBTQ community is to love yourself and spread love to others. Drag queens embolden the beauty of individuals embracing their sexuality through art.
People who are not a part of the community grow to appreciate this art form and respect LGBTQ members, creating a safe environment where they can express themselves unapologetically.
Jasmine Edmonson is a 21-year-old mass communication student from Denham Springs, Louisiana.