CU Boulder’s Gay Straight Alliance hosted their annual Drag Show on Saturday evening, partnered with the Cultural Events Board and the CU Student Government. What started out 10 years ago as a small student showcase has become one of the most attended student-run events on campus, drawing over 1,000 people every year.
Each year the Drag Show is held as a celebration of queer culture and a safe place for queer artists to share their talent with the community.
This year’s show was hosted by Denver’s Yvie Oddly, a popular drag queen who was named Denver’s Ultimate Queen in 2015. Oddly performed three times during the show and introduced every other act.
According to Laurel Zupon, one of the student coordinators for the event, many of the acts this year were first year CU students, “so the show feels young and fresh.”
The purpose of the Drag Show, Zupon said, is to “provide the LGBTQIA community with visibility and to honor the roots” of the culture that got its start in New York City among black, queer and trans people of color. The GSA does not charge admission for the event to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to attend.
The night began with a slam poem about coming out in today’s day and age, followed by what straight and queer white people can do to be better allies to queer folks of color. For instance, listening to people of color, calling out white supremacy when they see it and educating themselves. The short speech was concluded with “white people, we need to do better,” to which a resounding “YAAAASSSS” filled the room.
Yvie Oddly kicked off the entertainment with a performance to Beyoncé’s “Countdown.” She was followed by more queens, kings and other musical numbers.
Because the Drag Show is “one of the only opportunities for queer artists on campus to perform,” anyone is welcome to participate, Zupon said.
Anne Ritz, a first-time audience member at the Drag Show, said that the show brought a “heightened sense of awareness of the cultures we have here in Boulder,” and helps celebrate and support diversity on campus.
Annie Wyrick, one of the first-time performers, got involved with the show because of her love for drag and for the fun of it. To her, the Drag Show contributes a “safe space for the queer community” on campus.
Keane Alavi, who starred as Ivy Profen, was also a first time participant in the drag show. He sees the Drag Show as a “place for queer artists to express themselves and their art,” adding that there aren’t many opportunities like this — even at CU, which prides itself as a more tolerant school. Alavi expressed that queer folk at CU are often overshadowed by other students but finished with, “we’re here, we’re queer and nothing’s going to stop us.”
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