Seven participants took the stage in the Bovee University Center auditorium for the Amateur Drag Show on Thursday. The event, put on by LGBTQ services, was the first show of its kind to take place at Central Michigan University.
LGBTQ Director Shannon Jolliff said while there is a professional drag show in the spring for Pride Week, the amateur drag show was created to allow students to become more involved.
“We bring in professional queens in April for Pride Week,” she said. “We had a lot of student interest in joining the professional show, so we decided this would be a good platform to show their talent.”
The three winners of tonight’s show will participate in the professional show in the Spring semester.
Delaware senior Genesis Nunlee, one of the show’s winners who is transgendered, participated to challenge himself and show people there is a difference between being transgendered and dressing drag.
“I was socialized as female before starting transition,” Nunlee said. “Part of me was super uncomfortable at first putting on women’s clothing and then I got to the point where I finally passed this test I put myself through and felt comfortable.”
Nunlee said no one at CMU questions his gender, which made it easier for him to do drag. He hopes students who attended the show can now feel more comfortable with people dressing in drag.
“It can be all done in fun and non-threatening,” he said. “It’s pure entertainment.”
Warren freshman Precious-Angel Jennings, who helped Nunlee with his make-up, said this was the first drag show she has attended.
“It wasn’t what I expected,” Jennings said. “It was absolutely amazing and everyone was having fun.”
Other winner Aaron Wright said he was inspired to do the drag show from the show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the professional drag show on campus last year.
“I sat in the front row and just thought it was the coolest thing,” Wright said. “It’s the ultimate art form for a performer.”
Wright said it was nerve-wracking, but fun. He said his favorite parts were seeing how much other people were interested in drag culture and the audience interaction.
He wanted to show people who his character, Heather Highwater, really is.
“I picked a mom character who would be fun when the lights go down,” he said. “After all, life is a drag.”