BY BROOKS RUPAR//
Queer people have constantly found strength through community. At GW, a surprisingly robust queer community can be found at a school that can seem mostly heterosexual to an outside onlooker. Drag Shows have historically been a focal point in community-building, and a lively drag show often means that there is a thriving queer community in the area.
The Class Council Drag Show, hosted on the night of November 16th in association with the Trans and Nonbinary Students of GWU, was one such lively show. The show offered acts from 6 members of the GWU community who volunteered to dress up for a cause. All of the tips earned that night went to Casa Ruby, which is the only Multilingual LGBTQ+ organization in DC that provides a wealth of essential resources for at-risk LGBTQ+ peoples.
The show started off with Blood King (found on Instagram @perksofbeing_charlie). Blood King has a history of performance in and out of the context of drag. They elaborated that, “I used to work in a haunted house, so my drag is an extension of that.” Fake blood and dark piercing eyeshadow marked their horrorshow performance, which leaves them with “a confidence boost I can carry into my everyday life."
Next on stage was Andy Rogyny (found on Instagram @andy.rogyny). Self-titled “drag clown”, Mx. Rogyny serves up a colorful blast of nonbinary electricity. Their inspirations are varied, explaining that, “my outfits are most inspired by Dorian Electra (acclaimed nonbinary musician) and X (a fellow GWU student who has been in the drag community for almost two years now), and my makeup is most inspired by Sasha Velour and Trixie Mattel (two queens hailing from RuPaul’s Drag Race)”. They have found immense support within GWU’s queer community, lovingly saying that “X has been like a sister to me in this process”. Although this was only Andy Rogyny’s second performance, they still came out onto the stage with the confidence of someone who has been doing this for years.
Apriori Girl (found on Instagram @apriori.gurl), one of the organizers of the event, was the third performance. Their drag “is a repudiation of hyper-feminized expression and policed expression”, drawing from their experience as a trans person at GWU. “We’re [trans people] really the originators of drag”. Halfway through their performance, Apriori Girl swiftly ripped off their dress and broke out into the climax of their performance to the roar of applause. Drag offers an outlet for queer and trans people to do the most, in front of a captive audience who is ecstatic to be there.
This was followed by an audience participation game, where members of the audience were called on to perform to Britney Spears’ Toxic. Then came Panoptica (found on Instagram @timbiondo) to absolve the audience of their sins. Panoptica was a creature of habit, coming out as a nun who also works at Ulta for some extra cash. She gave us one of the first more downtempo performances, marked by shedding her habits halfway through and exposing what a nun really looks like behind the scenes.
The show finished with the two most classically trained drag performers, X (found on Instagram @manifest.x) and Crystal (found on Instagram @crystaledge). X is characterized by high-art and abstract expression, performing in a Pollock inspired dress to Bjork’s cult classic “It’s Oh So Quiet”. Bursting out to the blare of trumpets, butcher-knife in hand, X serves manic sprite madness. Whereas Crystal is at the other end of the spectrum, wearing an exposing leotard with windblown and hairspray-laden hair with a classic drag beat. Crystal is the oldest and most experienced of all the performers and her ability to entertain and invoke the crowd is very apparent. Doing a more lighthearted and encouraging performance she yelled at her audience that “I don’t see no 2 or 3, all I see is 1 baby”. Crystal’s performance was the height of positivity and self-love, something that the queer community can do better than almost any other.
At the end of the day, Class Council and the Trans and Nonbinary Students of GWU raised almost $350 for Casa Ruby, and displayed their queer identity to a packed auditorium. The show was a massive success, and Apriori Girl left me with a closing remark that, “we are definitely going to do this again.”