Decked out in wigs, glittery blouses and make-up or tuxedos paired with fake facial hair, students danced the night away at GW’s Second Annual Drag Ball Friday Night to kick off Transgender Awareness Week.
Allied in Pride sponsored the ball along with Trans Education and Action, a branch of Allied in Pride that focuses on gender related issues. Suggested donations collected from the event will go to the Whitman-Walker Clinic, which specializes in LGBT and HIV support and services.
“This is just basically a way to bring the community together and have a good time,” said sophomore Kaden Trifilio, who helped plan the event. “And also bring trans issues out and make people think about gender in a way they might not usually.”
The evening’s line-up included drag kings and queens that performed choreographed routines to the soundtrack of Lady GaGa, Michael Jackson and others.
Students swarmed the runway-style stage, dancing and cheering enthusiastically throughout the night. Several of the performers brought audience members into their routines, luring them with their feathery boas or sensual dance moves. Some even lifted their garments to put unsuspecting audience members’ heads between their legs. Other audience members joined in, slipping one-dollar bills into the busts and waists of the performers.
A member of the D.C.- based professional drag king troupe, the D.C. Kings, who goes by Oliver Clothesoff, said the audience at GW’s drag ball stood out from all her other shows.
“I love the crowd here and the energy,” he said. “I had the best time here I’ve ever had anywhere, literally.”
Although the majority of the kings and queens performed to diva classics, a couple of the performers took a more political approach to the show. One queen portrayed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a rendition of the late Yvonne Fair’s ‘It Should Have Been Me.’ Another performed as Ann Coulter in a cabaret number – complete with Coulter’s signature long, blonde hair.
TEA representatives took time between performances to tell audience members about their upcoming events and projects. The group is currently lobbying to amend the nondiscrimination policy of the University code of Conduct to include transgender students.
Trifilio said drag performance is essential to raising transgender awareness.
“It’s important, in especially the queer community, to have drag,” he said. “It’s an important way to expand people’s concepts of gender, to realize that it’s not in these black and white boxes that our culture tends to think of it.”
Rohmteen Mokharti, winner of the Best Dressed Competition of the evening, said he was happy that so many students could enjoy the ball.
“I think both years have been a huge success and I think it really shows that Drag’s out-people just love drag!”