Most Thursday nights are not remembered to be anything spectacular, but the performers at Wittenberg’s Annual Drag Show made sure that everyone in the audience would remember their Thursday night. Hosted by Wittenberg’s GSDA and The McClain Center for Diversity, this was the fifth year that drag queens and kings from surrounding areas have strutted, shimmied and danced their way down the stage set up in the CDR. With pulsing music and an open cash bar, the show drew many Wittenberg students and faculty.
The show was hosted by Zach Matthews, who kicked off the show with a dance and lip sync of his own before introducing each performer. Seven dancers came to perform; Sabrina Caprice Heart, Dixxxie Licious, Jareje Rashad, Selena T West, Amanda Punchfuk, Tasha Salad and a recent addition to the Wittenberg Drag cast, Johnny Justice, a drag king. Each performer had two dances and kept the audience dazzled with wardrobe changes, the occasional acrobatic stunt and even a wig being snatched from a student. To give the queens a break in between their high energy dance routines, a Q & A session was held. Questions started generically, with each queen explaining her story and how she picked her stage name and ended with a student strutting the stage in order to receive his own drag name.
However, the performers at the Wittenberg Drag show made sure to let the audience know that they were not just here for a good time, but a happy and healthy one as well. All proceeds from the event would be donated to local LGBTQ organizations around Springfield to help support struggling LGBTQ youth in the community. The Greene County Health Department and Clark County health district also teamed up and set up booths outside the entrance of the CDR, offering free HIV/STI testing, pamphlets with information about sexual health and, of course, free condoms.
By filling out a questionnaire, students can take control of their sexual health and become more educated on topics like safe sex and consent. Danielle Balchunas (‘21), who was part of the team that made the show possible, was happy when she saw the attention the booths were attracting.
“Greene County Health Department conducted the testing, Clark County Health Clinic was giving information about sexual health,” Balchunas wrote, clarifying each role. “I think it’s important to have HIV/STI testing and information at events like these because it normalizes sexual health and sexuality for everyone.”
Balchunas, an active member of Wittenberg’s GSDA, has many hopes and aspirations for the show in the future, and hopes that the cast will continuously add more queens to the lineup each year. For her, the show holds a special significance.
“I come from a town that looks down upon drag queens or anything relating to or supporting the LBGT+ community,” Balchunas said. “Being able to see the queens so confident and owning the stage brings me a great amount of happiness.”
Events like these foster a supportive and judgement free environment, where anyone can be exactly who they want. If you missed this year’s show, don’t worry– the queens plan on coming back with force and glam in 2020.