GIRLS! GIRLS? GIRLS?!: Breaking Stereotypes

By on March 17, 2014

In recognition of Women’s History Month, the GSSA hosted their first-ever all female drag show on Friday, March 14, at the UAB Campus Recreation Center to celebrate the beautiful diversity among those who identify as females.

The two-hour show featured professional and amateur drag performers; males dressed as women and women dressed as men in elaborate makeup and costumes. Many performers were title-holders. Performers included Nicole Tank Arlain, Kruz Mhee, Ashliegh Rose Hicks-Heidkamp, Jay Clark, Chrystina Black, Cace Corona, Safaree Campbell, Daysha Moore, and Texast Gray. Music was provided by Gil Mobley. The event was sponsored the Gay Straight Student Alliance (GSSA).

“We wanted to celebrate the diversity of being a women. Short, Tall, Black, White, Gay, Straight. They are beautiful,” organizer and emcee Stacy Whitaker Arlain said.

“People look down on drag shows and drag queens, but that is because they don’t know all that goes on. People see drag shows as guys dressing up like girls and dancing, well, slutty. Those are just stereotypes the world has taught us,” GSSA treasurer Rikki Sharbaughm said.

“There are female drag performers and they don’t always dress up like the opposite sex. Drag shows aren’t just for homosexuals and bisexuals and what have you, they can be fun for straight people as well.”

The audience was introduced to entertainment, dancing, and debauchery as a way to break down barriers and honor all women. The audience members greeted the nine female-identifying performers with applause, cheers and monetary tips as they performed to songs by Robin Thicke, Lady Gaga, Mercy Me, and more. Students were invited to dance and sing-a-long with performers. At one point, the crowd broke out into the “Cupid Shuffle” together.

In between acts, Arlain spoke about the art of drag and its purpose in society.

“Performing is how we explore our sexuality and identify who we are. It’s not easy to do what we do. It takes courage,” said Arlain.

Arlain went on to discuss the journey of drag. It may start out as an act of self-exploration, but it soon becomes an an art form and an outlet for expression. Performers love the creativity , the adrenaline rush, and the attention of the audience.

Drag queens have been at the forefront of the LGBT movement, as well as other social justice movements. Drag queens are female impersonators that create or bring entertainment to large audiences of people. Drag shows have been integral to queer history and used as a celebration for the queer community.

“These performers just go out and put on a fantastic show to help them feel their sexuality and feel sexy and free, and everyone should know that it’s okay and that it’s good to feel like that, that you should always love and show who you are.” Sharbaughn added.

When asked, many in the audience had never attended a drag show before.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I see now that it’s more than a boy putting on a dress and lip syncing to a song. It’s all about expression. It’s empowering,” first-time attendent Erica Smith said.

After the show, second-year student Cybil Butler discussed the importance of having a space for drag shows on campus.

“It shows that we’re all unique and diverse and different and that we can be ourselves here [at UAB],” Butler said.

The Gay Straight Student Alliance (GSSA) is student lead campus organization that works to provide a welcoming environment for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) students on campus. It also aims to educate the campus and local community about LGBT issues.  Future programs include a PRIDE day at the zoo at the beginning of April and an Easter egg hunt on the green. At all of their general meetings, they show documentaries and speakers.

“I just want everyone to know that if they ever need someone to talk to, the people in GSSA are there. Our goal is to bring everyone together, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity is. I want people to know that we are here for you, and we are proud to be,” said Sharbaugh.

Students can get involved with the GSSA through facebook, OrgSync or the website to sign up on the e-mail list.


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About Shejuti Paul

  • MCT News Service

    Hey Shejuti!

    Are you away for the summer? I was wondering if you could email me your notes from the USGA sit down meeting you had. Surprise, surprise they aren’t cooperating.

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