False Eyelashes, Real People

Leigh Norman/Fourth Estate

Annual Drag Show is a Smash Hit


The room was alive with rainbow flags and dollar bills.

“How many of you have heard of RuPaul’s Drag Race?” host Shi-Queeta Lee shouted.

The audience hollered. Lee smirked and said, “We’re better.”

Lee was the host for the Pride Week Annual Drag Show, held Friday, March 29, in the Johnson Center Atrium. The drag show featured performers from both Mason and Shi-Queeta’s Palace, Lee’s venue in D.C. Rustling by in an orange gown, Lee brought the house down with her jokes and quips.

The night formally began with a Mason drag queen, Venus Envy. The music swelled as the performer sparkled in rainbow sequins from the second-floor balcony. As they descended from the stairs, students cheered.

The performers were in various outfits, from Missy Elliot in an inflatable suit to a Beyoncé impersonator in a red drumline ensemble. Several queens were in casual clothes. One wore a hoodie with a fanny pack while another sported flannel. No matter the costume, every performer received applause. Performances ranged from lip synching to table-dancing and throwing heels. Audience members raced to throw cash on the stage.

Next, it was time for some real tips. During the intermission, several Mason LGBTQ student organizations spoke. A Women and Gender Studies representative recommended the department’s LGBTQ minor. The GMU Pride Alliance announced their 30th Anniversary. Students were reminded that the Alliance “can help you when you can’t help yourself.”

Afterwards, a member of Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) spoke. The club understands “what it’s like to be queer in a non white-dominated way.” The audience was just as exuberant as they were before. Then, the dances continued.

Leigh Norman/Fourth Estate

Assistant Director of LGBTQ Resources Lulu Géza Kelemen, who uses they/them/theirs pronouns, praised the performances. “A lot of people…celebrate,” they said. “Sometimes that’s what a community needs.” A plethora of students of every color and sexuality clapped along with the shaking pop beat.

However, Kelemen noted, “[The drag show] is not all we do.” As Kelemen suggested, there is more to Pride Week than the drag show. Each queen was a regular person. However, the show is fitting as one of the final events. It showcases the true meaning of Pride—to find, cultivate and love your true self.

The range of performers highlights this meaning. Whether you are a thigh-bearing Cardi B or a flannel punk-lover, it does not matter. What matters is confidence. Every queen embraced themselves.

Finding a supportive community is also important, a place to be that true self. The spectators applauded all night, no matter the act or outfit. Several times, an audience member could be heard happily crying or applauding for their friend onstage. The crowd cheered not only for the performers’ costumes and dances, but for the display of overflowing confidence and bravery.

The room was alive with Pride.