Drag is for everyone


GSEC Coordinator Abraham Trujillo and a lineup of performers. Photo taken by Sel Hartman on Oct. 13.

Men dress up as women, women dress up as men and people who are neither dress as either. 

There are so many misconceptions about drag. Most people think that drag is only for people that identify as LGBTQ+ or that drag queens want to be women and drag kings want to be men.  Drag has evolved into something for everyone, it has become one of the most expressive and inclusive artforms. It is a creative outlet that uses gender expression as the medium.

A pamphlet published by Chico State’s Gender and Sexuality Equity Coalition, GSEC, clarified a couple all-too-common drag myths. The first myth is that all drag performers identify as LGBTQ+. For reference, in RuPaul’s Drag Race, they recently included their first ever straight cis-gender drag queen — after 14 seasons. While the majority of drag queens and kings identify as LGBTQ+, some performers are not. Drag is an art form, not a sexual orientation or gender identity.

The second myth ties in with the first myth, that drag queens want to be women and that drag kings want to be men. The reasons for doing drag are unique from person to person. Many drag performers do drag because they are exploring masculinity, femininity and androgyny. 

Chico State’s seventh annual drag show took place at the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium on Oct. 13.  Previously, it had taken place in Room 203 at the BMU instead of the Auditorium, but widespread interest and attraction allowed for it to take place in a larger space. It originally started as just a lip sync battle with a $100 prize on the line hosted by a multicultural frat, Nu Alpha Kappa. 

“It changed from a Lip Sync battle to a Drag Show because there was no need for it to be a competition. There was just a need for queer artists or drag performers to show what they could do on stage,” GSEC coordinator Abraham Trujillo said.  “Once GSEC got its hands on the event, there was no reason to pit queer talent against queer talent. There was just a need for celebration that queer talent was being showcased at Chico State.” 

GSEC stated that they wanted to emphasize that their definition of drag is an art form. Each entertainer has their own personal reasons for doing drag and expectations for what they hope it can accomplish beyond making an audience laugh. 

The drag show featured thirteen distinct performers: Millian (the host), Ty Her Up, She’s Stupid, Lulu Fatale, Shady Bee, Jennifer, Will Ryder, Val Shapero, Klaudia Banks, Lulu Licious, Brianna Lorain, Sir Vix and Caloy. It was a diverse lineup of very talented individuals.

Millian, the host of the drag show. Photo taken by Samanta Sanchez on Oct. 13
Millian, the host of the drag show. Photo taken by Samanta Sanchez on Oct. 13

Millian hyped up the crowd and encouraged the audience to cheer during everyone’s performances. Millian also showcased their humor with jokes and funny anecdotes. Shady Bee danced and lip synced to “BREAK MY SOUL”  by Beyonce. The crowd waved their pride flags throughout all the performances. Shady Bee is an Arabic drag queen. Drag is looked down upon in most Arabic communities, but when they showcased their talent, people responded positively toward Shady Bee. 

The burlesque performer, Lulu Fatale. Photo taken by Samanta Sanchez on Oct. 13.
The burlesque performer, Lulu Fatale. Photo taken by Samanta Sanchez on Oct. 13

Lulu Fatale is a burlesque performer. When she first came on to the stage people were cheering and waving their flags, but as her performance progressed the crowd grew quieter. She left them shocked with her performance. Nobody was actually expecting her to go all out with her performance where she gradually removed her clothes.  

She’s Stupid lip synced and danced to Celine Dion’s song, “It’s all coming back to me now.”

Trujillo had been planning the event since the beginning of the semester. 

“A big portion of it was to bring our community together,” Trujillo said. “A way to showcase queer talent of all shapes and forms and to invite people who are simply curious about drag.” 

Abraham Renteira, GSEC’s program director, was also in charge of the event, particularly registration and attendance. The drag show was free and open to anyone. Students, alumni and non-students attended the event. 

“538 people registered to attend the drag show out of the 544 spots available, we were 6 spots away from a full house,” Renteira said. 

GSEC also offered a hybrid option for those who wished to attend the event virtually through Zoom. 

Hugh Hammond, a staff member from Associated Students, who is in charge of the music and visuals for events at the BMU, said that it was one of the “most legit drag shows that have taken place on campus.”

Trujillo was in charge of opening the show and hyping up the crowd. 

“It was one of the big events for the community and on campus,” Trujillo said. “It is an event that is expected to be good.”

The seventh annual drag show was the first time ever that the performers got paid through a stipend rather than just tips. 

“The performers got paid this time around because the combined efforts of GSEC and Chico State Pride made it possible,” Trujillo said.

 Previously, there was not enough funding to pay the performers. 

 “This semester, GSEC and Chico State Pride advocated for payment for our performers, and it was the big goal for this year’s Drag Show,” Trujillo said. “After much talk, we were able to receive a grant from AS to be able to do this.” 

The drag show ended with a political statement and a call for action from Trujillo.

“We are are queer and we’re here,” Trujillo said.

He wanted to make people aware that the U.S. House was bringing same sex marriage to be codified. Codifying laws is a way for the U.S. House to protect laws if the Supreme Court overrules them. 

Samanta Sanchez can be reached at [email protected].

#drag #dragshow #pride #gsec #lgbtq+ #lgbt #art