Drag superstar showcases passion, bravery of LGBTQ community
Drag superstar Morgan McMichaels of "RuPaul's Drag Race" sought out to inspire an unapologetic attitude in students in regards to sexuality, passions and life.
Hundreds attended to see the reality television personality perform and address LGBTQ issues Feb. 26 in Plachta Auditorium. McMichaels kicked off the evening with an electric dance number in a sequence red dress.
McMichaels has been featured in music videos for Rihanna and Lady Gaga.
During the event, McMichaels said she got into drag culture as a joking response to the Madonna album, "Music."
"Everyone dressed up as cowboys because that was her theme. We all started going crazy and me and my friends started dressing up in different styles and we all decided to do drag one night," she said. "For the first time, people really paid attention and I got free drinks."
Program Board Lecture Director Elizabeth Hernandez said she hoped for the event to exceed all expectations from the audience.
Hernandez first saw McMichaels in October during the National Association for Campus Activities conference. After experiencing McMichaels' stage presence, attitude and fearlessness, Hernandez said she instantly knew that a visit would be essential to Program Board's lecture series.
At this same conference, McMichaels said she was approached by numerous colleges, but not all were fortunate enough to have LGBTQ services.
They said they weren't allowed to have sexuality and identity alliances on campus, McMichaels said.
"I said baby, this is America. You are allowed everything," she said, adding that Central Michigan University is lucky to have resources such as the Office of LGBTQ Services.
After her dance performance, McMichaels addressed her everyday life as a white, cisgender male outside of performing.
"It's important for me to acknowledge that as a gay, white man, I'm fine," she said. "I can drive down any of the streets in (Los Angeles) and I can walk wherever I want and do whatever I want and people don't really notice or pay attention to me."
She said scenarios are significantly different for her "brothers and sisters of color" and the transgender demographic, especially in large city settings.
The best way to stand in solidarity with minority peers is to always be willing to call for help when witnessing a bad and possible dangerous situation, McMichaels said.
"When you see something, you need to say something (and) even if it's embarrassing, don't let people get picked on," she said.
McMichaels said the political climate of the world continues to create numerous challenges, obstacles and often danger for people of color, women and LGBTQ members.
"Unless you're some old, stubby white man who lives in D.C. and you're a millionaire, we're all f**ked," she said, encouraging audiences to flaunt their identities courageously and to feed off of the hate.
McMichaels closed the evening with a performance to Meghan Trainor's pop song, "Me Too" and welcomed guests on stage to dance freely.
Garden City freshman Christina Schwochert came as an open member of the LGBTQ community and wanted to hear what McMichaels had to say and contribute to an all-inclusive audience.
"It was different than what I expected. t was very glamorous and it was very interesting to see what someone else's take was," she said. "I gained a better perspective on how confidence is important. I've never seen someone so outrageously hyped about being yourself."