UIndy Pride’s annual drag show returns

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The annual drag show hosted by UIndy Pride, a registered student organization at the University of Indianapolis, made its comeback on March 24 in Ender’s Engagement Center in Schwitzer Student Center. The drag show has been an annual spring event on campus since its start in 2005, according to The Reflector. After cancellations in 2020 and 2022, senior anthropology major and UIndy Pride co-president Theo Saxe said this year was about rebuilding the event.

“I know, in previous years, the drag show was like the biggest event on campus, and a lot of people looked forward to it,” Saxe said. “But the show hasn’t been able to be put on in the past couple of years due to COVID[-19], and so this was a year of us trying to rebuild an event that used to be so popular. And we really feel like this was an amazing stepping stone towards making it the event that it used to be.”

According to Saxe, he and junior human biology major and UIndy Pride event organizer Allie Deines were the most involved with planning the event. Saxe took care of the paperwork and booking an event space while Deines recruited performers. The biggest obstacles they faced in the planning were booking a space for the event and finding performers, Saxe said.

“We were able to book a space back in, I believe it was either August, or anywhere from August to October, around that area,” Saxe said. “And then we ended up getting kicked out of that space in February, and then we got kicked out of the secondary space two days before the show. So that was a huge thing that we sort of really struggled with, was trying to find a last minute place to hold the event.”

While they had originally hoped the show would include mostly student performers, there were not any students that performed at this year’s show, Saxe said. According to Deines, they had reached out to people that performed in the past but they were unavailable. The show ended up having three professional drag performers who Deines contacted through social media: Ava Morningstar, Nexus Queen and Universe DeLa Crusis.

“Honestly, [the best part of the planning was] interacting with the artists,” Deines said. “All of them have been so nice and so accommodating. We don’t have a high budget for the show, and we’re taking the tips and donating to charity. So you’d think that performers wouldn’t be on board to do this if they weren’t getting paid a lot of money, but every single one I’ve talked to was either already booked and said keep me in mind for next year, or has been willing to do it for about next to nothing, just because they care about the community.”

Deines said the drag show is special because it exposes people to drag in a safe and accessible environment. She said that drag artists have confidence, which helps others to feel confident in themselves. People going to the show and showing their support for drag artists is really important, according to Deines.

“I think that attending drag shows and supporting drag artists is more important than ever, especially [with] what’s going on in the world because drag is under attack for being some sort of perverse thing, when it’s very much not,” Deines said. “It’s actually a pillar of the LGBTQ community.”

Prior to planning the show, Saxe did not know anything about drag, he said. He said there was a large learning curve while putting on the show, but that drag is important because it is about being yourself and having a community to identify with.

“I think that it’s such an important thing, especially for this campus because it’s all about individuality and being prideful in who you are,” Saxe said. “And that’s not just being prideful as a queer person, which definitely that is a large factor, but learning to not feel that you have to put on a certain way of your personality or take things away from who you actually are. Just to sort of fit in. I feel like having an event like drag on this campus really allows for students to see that it’s okay to express yourself in any way that you want to. And that there is a community out there for you no matter what.”

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