Stepping out in a sparkly sequin dress to the opening notes, Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is Barbra Wyre, Whittier alumni, and performer in Whittier’s Fall 2022 Drag Show performance. And she is not the only one igniting the night with her presence.
The first-ever Whittier Drag Show featured a variety of talents from Whittier students to alumni alike. Premiering at the Harris Amphitheater, this was the first myriad of performances the school put on, titling their show, “Poet Pride: Drag Show.” A rainbow curtain was displayed behind the performers, titled “Pride” to commemorate the LGBTQ+ community, which holds a strong presence in the student population. The event showcased local artists, including Mayhem Miller, a contestant on season 10 of Rupaul’s Drag Race, and other professional drag performers who dazzled the audience with their grandiose outfits, choreography, and likable presence.
For instance, Serena Infiniti-LiqCour, a professional performer, ended her performance landing on a one-legged split, while first-year student performer PMD lip-synced Paramore’s “Misery Business” in an edgy punk-rock number, while Kyra J’ete performed hip-hop choreography to a mash-up of Rihanna songs.
The event was coordinated by the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Program Board, and co-organized by ASWC Senate, Gender Equity Center, and other organizations. Food trucks, nachos, and refreshments in inflatable flamingo containers were offered in the SLC student parking lot. The Thursday before offered a lecture on drag culture, and a meet-and-greet was conducted before the show, which gave audience members the chance to meet with performers before their debuts.
The performances were open to the general public with free admission, with most of the audience consisting of Whittier students. One student expressed their appraisal of the drag show, stating they enjoyed the personal aspect of the performance, as the event showcased student talents. The student also described the experience as “eye-opening” as they had never attended a drag event before. Others shared an overall opinion that the show was entertaining and were glad they attended the event.
Along with being popular among students, the show served as a safe space for students to express their identities. This was not the only LGBTQ+ inclusive event this year. October 11th celebrated National Coming Out Day, along with inclusive events hosted by TOBGLAD and OEI. 2015 was the first year the college hosted a Lavender Graduation, an inclusive ceremony for members of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate their achievements and commencement. TOBGLAD (Transgender, Other-Identified, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Allies for Diversity) is a campus-run organization that acknowledges and advertises themselves to members of the LGBTQ+ community to express themselves freely and without judgment. The OEI (Office of Equity and Inclusion) also advertises themselves as a safe space for students who identify as part of the queer community.
Overall, organizations and student-run groups are taking steps to ensure a comfortable and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people to express their queerness, talents, and identities. The general consensus remains that the drag show was a memorable experience and we can not wait to see what the next show has in store.
Photo Courtesy of Sarah Lincon