Students, faculty come together to celebrate pride

"Drag is very celebratory of a character and a caricature in its performance whereas transgender is living your everyday life as you truly are," Struby Struble said.
MU students watch a performer at the Let's Get Loud Drag Show Saturday, April 4, 2015 at Memorial Union in Columbia, Mo.

By the time the lights dimmed, Stotler Lounge was standing room-only at this year's Let's Get Loud Drag Show, hosted by the LGBTQ Resource Center and the Triangle Coalition.

"We've had a spring drag show off and on for at least 10 years," LGBTQ Resource Center Coordinator Struby Struble said.

Let's Get Loud is one of 37 events held in the 30 days of April for Pride Month. The LGBTQ Resource Center has partnered with dozens of organizations across campus to celebrate pride and promote LGBT education and conversation.

"It's important to note that doing drag is very different than being transgendered," Struble said. "Drag is very celebratory of a character and a caricature in its performance whereas transgender is living your everyday life as you truly are."

There are various forms of drag performances. More traditionally known are the Drag Kings and Drag Queens who play up the gender that they do not identify with.

On the other end, there are High Femme and High Butch performers who play up the gender they do identify with. The outfits and performances often exaggerate the gender portrayed.

"It's all different sorts of gender fun and performance," Struble said.

As a custom of drag culture, audience members are encouraged to interact with the performers by tipping and dancing along. Some performers would interact with the crowd directly or bring an audience member up on stage with them.

All the while, dollar bills were thrown by audience members all over the runway.

"Once you get on stage your mind just clears and all you want to do is dance," High Butch performer Shane Stinson said.

Stinson, who has been performing drag since his freshman year, was joined by best friend and first time High Femme performer Kayley Weinberg.

"Shane's my best friend and we joked around about doing it and the joke went too far and we signed up," Weinberg said. "I think if it was with anyone else it would have been different, but since he's my best friend and we're so comfortable with each other, it felt like we were hanging out. That was essentially what we do all the time, just in drag."

Stinson said he’s thankful for all the support he gets while performing.

"That makes it easier for me and a lot more fun as well," Stinson said.

To round out the evening, every performer joined Struble on stage for a grand finale that ended in a standing ovation and lots of screaming.

"Struby Struble, the LGBTQ Resource Center coordinator, is about to leave so we wanted to make it special for her," Stinson said. "I was very honored to be a part of that. I'm thankful to have her in my life."

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