Drag queens take over Kent for Sex Week


Drag queen Danyel Vasquez opens the show by lip-synching during Sex Week’s Drag Show in the Cartwright Hall Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.

Brittany Rees

Covered in feathers and glitter, the drag queens of Sex Week cartwheeled, shimmied and spoke candidly about their experiences on stage Thursday night during Kent Interhall Council’s Drag Show.

The show, co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Student Government, began at 7 p.m. in a full auditorium at Cartwright Hall. It featured transgender drag queens Danyel Vasquez and Sonshine La Ray as hosts and performers Valerie Valentino and Blair Vinova. Of the four, only Vasquez has previously performed at Kent State.

“I liked seeing new faces. It’s usually all the same people,” Dylan West, a junior computer science major, said. “I actually really enjoyed the one queen, Blair. She really stood out.”

Vinova performed to Marina and the Diamonds’ “How to be a Heartbreaker,” while other performers danced to songs by Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Meghan Trainor.

During the performances, drag queens accepted tips from the audience. Attendees were encouraged by hosts to tip with single dollars; however, some students chose to gift performers with cupcakes and gift cards.

“Are you sure you want to give this to me?” Vasquez asked a student who gave her a $20 gift card to Taco Bell. “Because I will take it.” 

Each queen performed two songs on stage and stayed after the show to answer questions from the audience. In between performances, Vasquez and La Ray hosted a dance-off, flaunted their costumes and talked about their transitions from male to female.

“I’ve been living as a transgender woman for 13 years now, but I didn’t get these until two years ago,” Vasquez said, referring to her breast implants. “Seven grand takes a long time to save up, I’ll tell you that.”

Vasquez has hosted Kent State’s drag shows for four years and has been a drag queen for more than 20 years, beginning as an amateur performer at Akron gay bar The Interbelt.

“In the beginning, I started as an entertainer, but then it was an escape to wear women’s clothes,” Vasquez said. “Now, drag’s been a career for me for 22 years.”

La Ray has been transitioning for the past three months and has been a drag performer for seven years.

“This is my first time at Kent State, and I’m so happy Danyel brought me,” La Ray said. “She’s one of my good sisters. She’s an amazing artist, and I’m so glad I’ve known her for such a long time.”

The drag show was part of KIC’s annual Sex Week, which celebrates sexual diversity and sex health. The final event of the week will be Sextoberfest, a festival promoting sex education, which will be held at 4 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center’s Multipurpose Gym.

Contact Brittany Rees at [email protected].