Celebrating drag at QU

Former ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ contestant and New Haven-native hosts GSA’s annual Drag Show Bingo


Casey Wiederhold

Lucia Virginity, a New Haven, Connecticut-based drag queen, hosts Quinnipiac’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance annual Drag Show Bingo on April 15 in the Carl Hansen Student Center Piazza.

David Matos and Casey Wiederhold

Community members gathered Saturday night for an evening of fun, laughter and drag queens at Quinnipiac University’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance annual Drag Show Bingo in the Carl Hansen Student Center Piazza.

Amethyst, a West Hartford, Connecticut native and “RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15” contestant, and Lucia Virginity, a New Haven-based drag queen, hosted the night.

“The goal is just to create a safe, queer space where people can be themselves and have fun,” said GSA President Emily Bartlett, a junior health sciences studies major.

The queens carried out five rounds of bingo with prizes. Between each game, the queens performed a lip sync number for guests. In addition, GSA laid out pride flags, snacks, refreshments and pride-themed stickers for guests to take and enjoy.

“Events like this on a college campus are important because you are making sure that students of all different identities and representations have a place to go to feel comfortable and loved and accepted,” said Rebecca Huyck, a first-year interdisciplinary studies major.

Gabby Inacio, GSA’s treasurer and a sophomore behavioral neuroscience major,  said carrying out their yearly Drag Show Bingo event is important because a few attendees haven’t had the privilege to attend a drag show before coming to Quinnipiac.

“Not every student has had exposure to things like drag shows in the past,” Inacio said. “They might come from families who aren’t super supportive or come from hometowns that are a little more conservative. So this might be their first exposure to something like this.”

When Bartlett started at Quinnipiac, it was events like these that helped her feel more comfortable with her identity.

“When I came into Quinnipiac as a freshman … I was closeted. I was shy and once I joined GSA and I started making friends, I started meeting other LGBTQ+ people,” Bartlett said. “It made me feel really comfortable and realize how amazing it is to be yourself and how debilitating it is to try to hide.”

This year’s drag show comes after Tennessee Republican lawmakers led efforts to ban drag performances in the state. In February, Tennessee became the first state in the U.S. to sign a bill prohibiting public drag performances. Inacio said attending and carrying out local drag events is crucial amid the current political climate.

“It’s just really frustrating,” Inacio said. “It feels like we’re kind of moving back in time.”

Inacio said going to drag events can be a great gateway for those unfamiliar with drag shows to learn something new, changing their perspective on the art form altogether.

“A lot of (anti-LGBTQ+ laws) come from people who are uneducated and just don’t know any better, and it comes from fear,” Inacio said. “So, if they have more exposure to things like drag shows and just queer people in general, much of that fear goes away. They might realize, ‘Oh, these people aren’t out to get me … it’s just a fun celebration for people…to have a good time.’ There’s no secret gay agenda underlining all of it.”

In past years,   GSA  has seen allies, professors and even dining workers participate in their events. Inacio explained that GSA creates safe spaces for everyone, regardless of their identity.

“It’s important to have events like this where everybody feels comfortable and safe, and it’s just really a celebration,” Inacio said. “I know a lot of stuff about the LGBTQ culture sometimes can be a little more negative. So this is just something where anybody can just come and celebrate and just have a good time and win some prizes and do bingo and just be with a bunch of people who are either part of the LGBTQ+ community or just an ally.”

Inacio said one of the objectives for this year’s drag show was to bring more distinguished drag queens to campus. With that, the organization chose Amethyst, a competitor on the most recent season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and a prominent name in the Connecticut drag scene. Also, Lucia Virginity has been a friend of GSA’s faculty advisor, William Jellison, and a well-known performer in the New Haven drag scene for 14 years.

“I came to this event because I support GSA … I am also a fellow gay student and Amethyst is a queen,” Huyck said.

While at the event, students were allowed to meet and take pictures with the queens. The two queens performed hit songs by Rihanna and created their mixes to the popular single “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor.

There was a half-time event between the third and fourth rounds of bingo. In addition, students were able to sing karaoke. “Kisses of Fire” by ABBA and “When We Were Young” by Adele were the event’s opening and closing songs. Finally, five students were selected to compete in a lip-sync battle to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga to close the event. The two queens stood to greet the students and judge the lip-sync battle.

“I learned that drag is not a crime,” said Cara St. John, a first-year psychology major. “I would definitely come back to another event like this.”