By Dylan Shabbit
Loyola University Chicago’s sixth annual drag show Thursday night featured a variety of student performers and was hosted by prominent Chicago drag queen Taj Mahal.
The show was held in the Rambler Room on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus from 7-9 p.m, and featured performances from both male and female students. The event culminated in a dance competition involving both performers and audience members, and was followed by a question and answer session with Taj Mahal and the performers.
A n enthusiastic crowd of 300 was in attendance, in spite of dropping temperatures and pouring rain.
The show was orchestrated by Advocate, Loyola’s student organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally students. The president of Advocate, Travis Olson, 22, a senior sociology and environmental studies major, gave some background on the organization.
“We have three main areas that our organization focuses on: to provide social space for students, to educate on issues relating to sexuality, gender, and social justice, and we have an advocacy component as well,” Olson said.
Advocate also gave away T-shirts at the show with a suggested donation of $5, the proceeds from which will go to the LGBTQ Scholarship fund.
Michelle Navarrete, 20, a sophomore human services and environmental studies major, said she enjoyed the show.
“I came to support my friends who were performing. I think this is really a great way to spread awareness and love in a fun way,” she said.
In a panel discussion following the show, sophomore performer Eddie Chong described what it was like to perform.
“It’s really a cathartic experience for me,” Chong said. “People who know me know that when I’m with my friends or in public, I’m pretty quiet and shy, but when you’re on stage, it’s so easy to forget who you are. It’s a matter of personal expression, and this is an environment that really encourages it.”
The question and answer session covered topics such as the preparation of a performer for a drag show, and the acceptance and love of diversity that the event was intended to promote.
“I like to support Advocate and pretty much everything they do, and I think this show really helps promote the idea that anyone of any sexual orientation is welcome here. It was a fun way to learn, ” said Bridget Houle, 19, a sophomore majoring in French.
For more information on the event and on Advocate, click here.