If approached by someone wearing a dress this week, don’t immediately assume it’s a girl. With two drag performances planned to take place on campus, men in women’s clothing will seem like the norm.
During Relay for Life, a yearly event that will take place Friday, April 20, there will be various events on the Drillfield to sustain the momentum of the volunteers.
“Queen of the Night” is a prime example of this and will carry the enthusiasm into downtown, as participants dressed in drag will ask for donations from bar goers.
Maggie McVicar, a communication major, is actively involved in the community and is a member of Tech’s Relay for Life events committee.
“People go all out, and it’s really entertaining,” McVicar said. “In terms of audience enjoyment, it’s one of the most successful events, and it brings in a lot of money.”
McVicar said the drag queens would have a short amount of time to do whatever they please in order to receive donations from people downtown. The one who raises the most money will earn points for his team, which will then donate it to Relay.
“I’m just excited to see how much fun the people doing it have,” McVicar said. “It’s raising money to fight cancer, which makes it exciting to me.”
If those volunteering for “Queen of the Night” seek inspiration or need ideas, they may attend Tech’s LGBTA annual drag show Thursday, April 19. This event will be located in the Graduate Life Center’s auditorium at 8 p.m. The performance will also be free and open to the public.
Zack Fry, a sociology major and LGBTA films chair has taken part in the event already and assures that it’s entertaining for all.
“Students here enjoy it and its fun to do,” Fry said. “It’s a nurturing environment, and no one gets booed.”
However, having the status of an LGBTA member doesn’t carry the requirement of being a performer. Not only is the event open to the public, but the show slots are available as
“Last year we had students come from Radford and the University of Mary Washington, and everyone had a great time,” Fry said. “It was a big hit.”
Fry said Thursday’s performers prepare extensively for the show, because in the gay community, drag is an art form.
“People are doing a routine, getting outfits and already looking into make up,” he said. “We’ve even had professional drag stars perform in the event.”
Although drag performances may simply seem like a form of entertainment to some, to others it has a deeper meaning.
Fry said that drag performers embrace womanhood and women’s power.
They are doing it to highlight feminine influence and to exercise theatrical skills.
Fry also said drag does not exclude women. Women dress up as men, which can be just as impressive.
Although certain controversial aspects accompany this event, Fry mentioned that “Queen of the Night’s” intention is in the right place.
Men dress up as women and may act in ways that are demeaning towards them, but Fry promises it’s all in good fun.
“In the moment, people see it as a good laugh, but there’s actually a whole lot of issues with gender,” Fry said.
“It’s a great time and it’s funny, but really look at why we’re laughing.”
Fry also said when things don’t apply to someone personally, they typically don’t think of the affect it may have on others.
He said that this type of fundraising is done on other campuses, but there are a lot more things that could be done instead.
“They’re not doing it to mock people who do drag,” McVicar said. “They don’t have the intention of being hurtful. They’re doing it to have fun.”