Amateur drag queens showcase talent

Drag queens perform as part of an amateur drag show at the Student Center on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014.

Drag queens perform as part of an amateur drag show at the Student Center on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014.

Anthony Didion

PRIDE! Kent showed its colors by hosting its first open-contestant drag show Thursday night.

Jamie, an amateur drag queen and Kent State student, won the show with her performance of “Float On” by Modest Mouse. Six amateur drag queens performed lip-synched songs for an audience of over 150 drag supporters, PRIDE! members, the contestant’s families and Kent State students.

Four professional drag queens also performed individually and in a group, then judged the six amateur contestants.

At the start of the show, the contestants educated audience members by presenting a slideshow that explained the history of drag and what it truly means.

Throughout the introduction, the contestants made jokes, engaged the audience and created an overall enjoyable atmosphere.

Billy Gruszewski, treasurer of PRIDE!, said he always enjoys himself at events such as these.

“I personally like the comedic sides of drag queens more than the dancing aspect,” Gruszewski said. “I always have fun with them.”

The first three drag queens to take the stage were dancers from gay bars around Kent. Once they were done with their routine, they became the judges for the amateur drag queens of the night.   All of the contestants showed a sense of professionalism in their routine. The various dresses and makeup created an awe-inspiring experience for the audience. 

“Any opportunity we get to involve our members we value very highly,” said PRIDE! President Brandon Stephens.

Stephens said he sees promise of a bright future. With the acceptance of drag and same sex marriage, membership of PRIDE! is expected to grow. 

“There are many issues we want to highlight in the community,” Stephens said. “We are definitely thankful for all of the progress that has been made.”

Matthew Daniel, freshman public health major, was one of the people in the audience who was supporting the cause.

“The representation is getting better,” Daniel said. “It’s about defining gender norms. You don’t have to convey toward masculine or feminine you can just be both.”

Contact Anthony Didion at [email protected].