I Went to My First Drag Show… And I Loved It!

As a person who currently lives in and identifies with the LGBTQ community, I have always found drag shows to be intriguing. I've heard both positive and negative opinions about drag shows and how they hyper-sexualize or create stereotypes for the LGBTQ community. As a person who's never been to one before, I've found it difficult to form my own opinion about drag shows. However, I’ve never been opposed to them and I've never found them to be offensive in any way. So, two weeks ago, I attended my very first drag show and here’s what happened.


My first drag show took place in my own very conservative college town: Winona. When I first walked in, it was packed almost beyond capacity, which was really exciting! The space was mainly filled with college-aged students. When I was waiting for the show to start, I heard many conversations take place. One conversation between two middle-aged white women excitedly stated that it was “So very interesting!” It was immediately clear to me that they had possibly never been to something like this before (just like me). This was also exciting for me because it meant that people were interested and open-minded to the possibly strange concept of a drag show. Maybe the world really is changing. Because this was my first show, I made sure to “dress to impress” with one of my sorority sisters.



The show began around 15 minutes after I had budged my way to the front. As a person who is five-foot-two, it was important that I make a valiant effort to get near the platform. I made it… with the help of some of my sorority sisters plowing through people for me. If I remember correctly, the drag show was put on by a campus organization called Full Spectrum. The show began with different students from WSU performing and lip syncing to some of my favorite music. Between performances, audience members were welcomed to the platform to rock out to the music together as well! When “7 Rings” by my girl Ariana Grande started to play, I may have dragged some of my friends up on to the platform with me…



Here's where I think some of the negative connotations with drag shows come into play: I could see where people could be unamused by the possible stereotypes that drag shows portray. I think it's easy to mistake drag shows as making fun of the LGBTQ community. It could have something to do with the drag kings and queens lip syncing and dancing to historically “gay” music. Some of the music featured artists such as Lady Gaga, Cher, Dolly Parton, Sia and many more. In my opinion, I don't feel as though drag shows are making fun of the LGBTQ community. I think it is quite the opposite. I feel that drag shows do a really good job of representing this community and almost normalizing them for people like those middle-aged white women I encountered.  I think drag shows create a fun and exciting way to represent the community as well.


Okay, back to the show—the portion of the drag show with the WSU students lasted for most of the night until it was time for the professionals. This was when things got wild (in the best way possible). Once it was announced that the professionals would be making their appearance, the audience went crazy. The song “Alive” by Sia was cued, and in camed our very first professional drag queen! I was honestly amazed at the athleticism the performers demonstrated. For me, six-inch heels plus an amazing bop and many minutes of an intensely-choreographed dance routine would mean a recipe for disaster…  and possibly a broken ankle. B these queens performed with such ease!



I can honestly say that this was one of the most fun nights I have ever had since beginning college! I loved being surrounded by people who supported the LGBTQ community and some of my closest friends. I loved dressing up and screaming the lyrics to my favorite songs. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the professionals in their amazingly sparkly dresses and, yes, even thongs. Most importantly, I loved the memories I created that night. I would absolutely 10/10 recommend.



I think it's important to remember that people who perform in drag shows are professionals and they get paid to do what they love. If that’s something you can’t get on board with, then I think that might be a personal problem.