GSA presents 17th annual Drag Show on March 31


Photo courtesy of Gay Straight Alliance on Instagram

The Gay Straight Alliance’s 17th annual Drag Show is set for March 31.

OU’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) will be hosting their 17th annual Drag Show on March 31 in the Oakland Center Ballrooms. The show will feature performances from OU students and GSA members as well as professional drag queens Hershae Chocolatae, the master of ceremonies, and Sabin.

Katelyn Vutci, treasurer for GSA, stated a drag show serves as an empowering expression of LGBTQ+ culture. She says the show serves as a fun space that is welcoming and a shameless celebration of queerness that members don’t get to enjoy too often short of going to pride festivals and similar events.

The event’s description on GrizzOrgs states that “drag seeks to emulate and/or play with social ideas of gender, masculinity, and femininity in order to explore or make commentaries on identity.” Although drag has an extensive history dating back in the U.S. to roughly the 1950s, the demonstration of LGBTQ+ culture only began to enter “mainstream entertainment” within approximately the last 10 years.

GSA creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ campus members and aims to provide a place where they can meet new people, make new friends and gather together once a week to relax and enjoy each others’ company. They organize several large-scale events each academic year including the drag show, pride prom, poetry slam night, coming-out monologues and a bonfire.

While Vutci, a junior at OU, serves as treasurer for GSA, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the organization from hosting the drag show since 2020. Although she hasn’t had the opportunity to attend previous shows, planning this year’s event has raised her excitement about the broad impact the show has on the campus community.

“I personally think that it sends a very clear and prominent message that this university is excited and they hold no reservations about expressing that this is a place that’s safe for queer people,” Vutci said. “Any place that were more conservative would hem and haw, would hesitate to approve something as big and bombastic as a drag show but it’s a tradition here.”

Vutci also hopes this event will serve as a return to normalcy for the organization stating that, for her, the show is representative of members getting their lives back as the prominence of the pandemic slowly decreases.

“I’m just excited to enjoy it. I’m really excited to see what the queens prepare for us in their performances. We contract them and we fill them in about the run time and all that and then they bring what they bring so that’s in their hands and I’m excited to see how that pans out,” Vutci said.

This year’s show, sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Initiatives and the Youth Democratic Socialists of America of Oakland University, is themed Interstellar — chosen by the general members of GSA. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and light snacks, desserts and drinks will be provided for attendees. The performances will begin at 7 p.m. Note that it is customary in drag performances to tip the performers.

The drag show is free and open to all members of the campus community and tickets are not required, however, GSA prefers those interested in attending RSVP on GrizzOrgs. For more information about the show and GSA, visit the organization’s GrizzOrgs page or Instagram.