GSA hosts drag show to remember

Zoe Leone, Staff Writer

Students filtered into the Carl Hansen Student Center Piazza as “Blow” by Kesha played softly over a set of speakers on the evening of Nov. 12.

Quinnipiac University’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance’s Drag Dinner and Show attendees began piling their plates with the night’s dinner of mac and cheese, chicken and sausage and peppers. The tables next to the buffet offered free GSA T-shirts, pride flags, pins and stickers.

Soon the chairs and tables were so filled that attendees began finding spots to watch the show on the stairs and the floor. Faces were bright with smiles as friends chattered easily about the event with the Progress Pride Flag draped from the second floor.

GSA members scattered around the room whispered to each other in amazement at the big turnout of students, many of whom were drag show first-timers.

“I had never been to any sort of drag event and I thought about how this is part of our culture, so I thought I should be a part of it,” said attendee Satine Berntsen, a junior philosophy and film, television and media arts double major. “It’s a big cultural thing for the queer community. It’s allowed us to express ourselves for so long.”

Drag originated as theater slang dating back to the days when women were not allowed in theater productions and men were forced to play female roles. The term has since evolved into the beloved performance art most known today, where drag artists use makeup and clothing to perform a high-energy exaggeration of gender expression.

“(The event) carves out a good space for the queer community on campus,” said attendee Sabrina Duverglas, a junior philosophy major. “I think having events like this, or any type of forum or event, where you can see other people who are in your community and talk to them and just know you have a space to just exist, makes it more comfortable to actually go to this school.”

The noise died down quickly as the first performer was announced, local Connecticut drag queen Sienna Rose. Britney Spears reverberated through the piazza as Rose emerged from the hallway in a replica of Spears’ 2009 “Circus” Tour sparkling ringmaster outfit.

“Are we feeling queer as fuck?” Rose asked the crowd. The crowd cheered their enthusiastic response as she introduced the second queen of the night, New York City native, Andora Tetee.

Pink beads jangled cheerily along to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” as Tetee performed as the beloved country singer. Tetee has been doing drag for 22 years, dazzled the crowd with her larger-than-life and in-your-face performance.

“I have a whole suitcase for you to see,” Tetee said as she and Rose momentarily disappeared from the stage.

Before the crowd could get too comfortable mingling, Tetee made her entrance once again, this time in a glittering pink catsuit adorned with a sky-high feathered headpiece. She pranced through the crowd before passing the spotlight back to Rose, who performed a Christmas-themed Spears mash-up.

The queens took a break from their performances to host a lip-sync-for-your-life competition with audience members, similar to the segment on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Students performed to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and twerked to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” before Tetee and Rose declared them all winners.

The GSA eboard, however, decided to host their own performance battle as the queens changed one last time, this one much more cut-throat.

“We’re not like the queens,” said Sean Doyle, one of GSA’s co-presidents. “We’re bitches in this room.”

This time audience members fought by performing to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and a drag favorite The Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men.” Hair was flipped and cartwheels were cheered for as the winner, first-year biochemistry major Langston Ramirez-Pharr was chosen by audience applause.

Rose took to the floor to perform one last time with a rendition of “Fabulous, Baby!” from the Broadway musical version of “Sister Act.” As she finished, she sat in front of the fireplace to talk about a subject that made several jaws drop: Quinnipiac’s budget weekend.

“Make you sure write all of your admins, everyone on the motherfucking board, to give the GSA all the fucking money they want!” Rose said as the crowd erupted into cheers.

Tetee made her final appearance in a glowing recreation of Lady Gaga’s outfit from her “Rain on Me” music video, which she paired with an energetic space-themed mash-up that sent the audience into a frenzy.

Though her performance was just as fun as the rest of the night, the queen ended the night with a heartfelt final message.

“Take the love in this room and bring it out into the world,” Tetee said.

GSA co-president Emily Bartlett was glad to see the exceptionally high turnout and the amount of joy that was present in the piazza throughout the night.

“It was such a safe space and everybody was able to be themselves and just have fun,” said Bartlett, a junior health science studies major. “That’s really what we were going for, so everything worked out.”