QPA Spreads Awareness Through Drag

By Kylie Sosky in Life

“Unity, love and understanding is what we do this for.”

The Queer Penguins and Allies club of Clark College hosted its second “Pre-Pride” or “Bust Drag Show” this year on May 29, to spread awareness and raise money in an “educational and entertaining” form, according to Veronica Beltran Leyva, president of the club.

Through dance, music and drama, the individuals performed in hopes of teaching the definition and difference of sex and gender. Leyva said the drag show stressed the importance of pronouns and acknowledging people’s identities and sexualities, while raising money for a good cause.

This is the QPA’s club’ eighth drag show in seven years.

Admission to the show was free and all tips collected were donated to the Triple Point Vancouver Youth Center, a local resource with support groups and counseling for young queer and transgender individuals.

Steve, a leader of the Triple Point’s support groups said the money will help teens struggling with their sexuality. He was available throughout the show to answer questions about the youth center.

Eighteen performances by nine performers grossed $902, reaching the night’s goal of $900. Leyva said this drag show had more faculty performers than in past years.

The show took place in Gaiser Student Center at 6 p.m. and lasted three hours. Roughly 200 people attended the show, Leyva said.

The performers spun, shimmied, danced and weaved their way through the crowd to collect donations personally. Levya wore loud makeup, two tutus and very high-heeled boots. Performers wore brightly-colored wigs. One performer, who danced to a country song was dressed in a cowboy hat and boots.

Correspondingly, volunteers from the audience interacted with the hosts in activities and competitions in which prizes were given out.

Owen Mchatton, drag queen and co-host of the show, performed in a show at Clark three years prior. She described this show as “more diverse and popular” in terms of the audience. “I can tell there’s more experience and more love, but the same vibe.”

QPA members said they received very little opposition, “maybe two or three bad emails after the show,” and there have been no bad incidents during the show.

Bailey Baxter, a 17-year-old student at Clark, said before the show, “I will not be attending the drag show. I think it’s awesome for other people to entertain and express themselves, but I don’t want any participation or association with the event.” Baxter said her opposition was fueled by her religious beliefs that challenge much of the educational aspects included in the show.

Leyva said, “I don’t want to put anything in people’s faces, but provide a safe place and a fun way to educate, build bonds and connect.”

The Canteen Vending Company donated snacks, candy and water to the event.

The show concluded with a unifying chant by the audience calling out, “Queer love.”

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