Glitter, glam and queens made a grand return Nov. 3 at the Rosebud Theatre for UTA’s Annual Drag Show after last year’s pandemic-induced hiatus.

LGBTQ+ Program coordinator Joshua Mackrill said the event celebrated the end of Pride Month and helped students learn more about UTA’s LGBTQ+ community while having a great time. Mackrill said drag is an art that anyone can do, regardless of if they are in the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Drag isn’t just someone who identifies as a man dressing up in a wig,” Mackrill said. “There’s many different types of drag, and so we want to make sure that is represented here.” 

Students entered with free admission, but they could tip the queens as they performed. Mackrill said those funds would then be used toward a scholarship for LGBTQ+ students at the university. 

The auditorium was packed, with around 363 people attending. Drag queens vogued and pranced around the stage. The crowd laughed, cheered and sang along throughout the evening. 

Psychology freshman Casey Condron said it was their first time watching drag. They said they enjoyed seeing so many people come out and support the community that made them feel more included at UTA.

Condron, along with four other audience members, was selected from the crowd to compete in a dance contest. One-by-one, the contestants worked the stage with their dance moves, and the audience chose their favorites with raucous applause. 

A thunderstorm of cheers erupted in the theatre when hostess and drag queen Kiana Lee made her grand entrance in a blonde wig, theatrical makeup and a dress with black and holographic sequins.

The first queen to perform was Salem Moon. She hit the stage in red Converse with high-heels. She walked into the crowd and performed a death drop to Lady Gaga’s “Fashion of His Love”.

During one of her performances, Moon danced and spun so fast that her neon yellow wig flew into the air. Without missing a beat, she removed her wig cap, fixed her natural hair and kept dancing. The crowd went wild. 

Sapphire Davenport, Nia Courtland and Lady Monroe followed, all serving moves in high heeled shoes and glistening outfits.

Lee wowed the crowd with her red feathered headpiece covered in jewels and spread her red wings that mimicked the free spirit of a bird.

At the end of the show, all of the queens made one last strut through the audience before taking their places on the stage for a final bow. 

Umarae Ogans, business management and marketing senior, said this was his first time coming to the UTA Drag Show. 

“I’m obsessed with drag, and I’m really excited to see what Arlington has to offer because I have not been to the UTA Drag Shows before,” Ogans said. 

He said he has high standards but was impressed by the amount of talent he saw. He said he was surprised by the large freshman turnout during the class call out. 

Liam Rhodes, social work junior and Mr. UTA, said he saw people from both inside and out of the LGBTQ+ community at the event enjoying themselves. He said it was heartwarming to see the next generation embrace the community.

“We had people that didn’t even go to UTA,” Rhodes said. “We had parents, faculty, students, alumni, we had a good mix of every kind of age group demographic you could think of.” 

Nursing freshman Amyrah Lee said it was the best time she’d had in a long time. It was nice to be herself surrounded by others doing the same, she said.

“It’s hard to really be yourself in a world that’s just cruel all the time,” Amyrah Lee said. 

Jessica Sanchez, director of Student Advocacy Services, said the number of attendees nearly doubled from the previous event in 2019. The event provides a space for LBGTQ+ students to feel like they are seen and that they have allies on campus, Sanchez said.

Rhodes said he came from a high school where LGBTQ+ representation was not frequently discussed. He said he appreciates the university for having events like the drag show, and he is already picking his outfit for next year.

“It’s just beyond my wildest dreams what they have accomplished in the time that I’ve been here,” he said. “What they’ve done, and what I’ve been able to do and see, it’s just amazing.” 

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