Annual FAU Drag Show Not Open to Public Amid Political Threats

Kat Wilderness. Photo via Instagram.

In the wake of ongoing legislative attacks on the drag and trans community, sometimes with threats to the physical safety of performers, the FAU annual drag show is still going on this year.

With one big caveat: it’s not open to the public.

Florida Atlantic University Multicultural Programming, a Student Government program that aims to enrich cultural unity throughout the university, had to take several steps to allow the show to go on this year such as changing the name to “Owl Manor,” checking student IDs to make sure everyone is 18 and older, and not allowing the general public to attend.

“We kind of had to finesse the system so that on a university scale, it could still happen,” said Noadia Lindor, associate director of Multicultural Programming and president of BLISSS, an LGBT student organization focused on BIPOC LGBT students. “If we did not do that and we were like, ‘No, we don't want to change the name, we want the drag show to be open to everybody,’ I'm pretty sure it would not have happened with all the bills going on.”

LGBT students on campus are looking forward to the annual drag show coming back this year.

“I'm really excited about the drag show this semester,” said Paige Allen, FAU senior studio art major and president of Lavender Alliance, another LGBT student organization. “I suspect that we might have a lot of political stuff going on during the show or a lot of statements made during the show, but I'm still gonna go and enjoy it.”

Allen added, “I believe because of what's happening to the trans and drag community, they should make statements, and they should be like, ‘I know you guys enjoy this, but you know, because of this governor, you might not have opportunities like this anymore.’”

Velvet Lenore, one of the upcoming performers for “Owl Manor” who marched with hundreds of drag queens in Tallahassee last April, agreed with standing up to DeSantis and his attacks on the LGBT community.

“It’s so important that we continue to educate, not only the college kids but all kids, on what drag life is all about,” Lenore said. “We're here to entertain people, we're not here to hurt anybody. I've been saying to people that drag is not a crime, it's a blessing. Because we make people smile, we give people a chance to leave their problems behind and just enjoy a great time with us. I just feel DeSantis needs to relax, chill out, let it go.”

Kenny Ruff, vice president of Lavender Alliance and FAU sophomore multimedia journalism major, emphasized the importance of the drag show in promoting a welcoming environment for LGBT students.

“I feel like it’s something that we need as a community because there's so much uphill, like you see people on the Breezeway talking terrible things against us, and it's like, ‘Well, I go to school here,’” Ruff said. “I don't want to feel like I don't belong because of something I am. It's that type of stuff and I feel like because of having this event, it's loud, it's big, but I love it because it feels like ‘wow, at least it's there.’ At least we have some voice.”

The show will feature local performers such as Ariel Rimm, TP Lords, Velvet Lenore, Rianna Petrone, and Kat Wilderness.

The show is free for FAU students and will be held on Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. in the Barry Kaye Auditorium, located in the FAU Student Union. Student tickets are available by visiting fauevents.universitytickets.com.

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