Drag in the day

UB LGBT Alliance hosts daytime drag show in the Student Union

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Angel Yutig, a junior health and human services major, said she never thought she’d see the day someone would deepthroat a dildo in the middle of the Student Union.

But that all changed on Friday afternoon when the Student Association and UB Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance hosted a drag show in the Student Union lobby. The show featured drag queens from local group House of Raige.

Roughly 200 students attended the event, with at least 50 UB community members looking down from SU’s second-floor balcony.

Alice Raige, “Mother of the House of Raige,” hosted the event, which featured four drag queens who tackled two sets a piece. The show ended with a 30-minute Q&A session with students.

The performers didn’t shy away from a typical show, with some drag queens performing in a shockingly sexual manner. Other sets provided commentary on social issues surrounding politics and sexuality.

 Raige said it’s important to have shows like hers in a college setting.

“People could think that we’re like, sexual deviants or they might think that we’re sick or crazy,” Raige said. “When things are left in the dark and when things aren’t talked about, that’s when misunderstandings happen.”

Still, Raige said, dark settings such as nightclubs –– as opposed to daytime shows –– offer a different atmosphere for performers.

Raige said nightclubs have a “veil of darkness” that may be more forgiving to makeup and dress flaws. She said she believes performing in the day, however, can be freeing.

 “In a situation like this, it’s bright and people are there for you. There’s no alcohol to blur the lines so they’re seeing you for who you are. I think it’s liberating and intimidating,” Raige said.

 Drag queen Victoria Jenkins echoed Raige’s sentiments and said it’s important to engage with the audience without any alcoholic influence.

 “Especially when there’s no booze, you really need to get in there and get them into it because they’re not going to start, they’re shy college kids,” Jenkins said.

The 21-year-old Jenkins said she enjoyed performing in front of people her age, and was pleased to see her peers respond well to queer art.

Of the four drag queens who performed Friday, two had strong ties to UB. 

Daphne York graduated from UB this past May with a degree in psychology. York’s set included a relatively tame lip sync to Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me,” with her wearing a large faux fur coat.

The music then abruptly transitioned into recording artist Willam’s “Ho Ho Ho Ho,” and York threw off her coat to reveal a vintage, Christmas-themed negligee.

She then pulled out a pink dildo and deepthroated it amid deafening cheers from the audience.

York said performing in drag at UB was “like coming full circle,” as it allowed her to entertain her friends who she said were “really supportive” when she started performing her senior year.

York said she was also pleased UB paid her to perform. 

“Like, I’m not back here because I have to go to school. I’m back here because you booked me, honey. I’m getting paid so you can give me all the money back that I gave [UB].”

Another drag queen Veronica Lace, meanwhile, is a Master’s student in the School of Social Work. By day, Lace is a mental health and substance abuse counselor and by night, she goes to classes at UB.

Lace’s set marked a different tone in the show. The set started with a recording of Ellen Degeneres speaking about a young boy killed in a hate crime. The commentary then segued into Keala Settle’s song “This is Me.”

While performing, Lace donned a white floor-length gown with various slurs and hate speech scrawled in black marker. The message, Lace said, was to “take back” words that are often used in hate speech.

 Lace said she performed the set at UB because she was going to perform in a space open to the public, as opposed to a private theater performance at a club.

 “Everybody walking past could see what was going on. It didn’t matter who in terms of race, gender, identity,” Lace said. “So they’re going to see this individual with this dress on and these words and everything. It’s going to resonate with you in some kind of way inside of you.”

The Q&A session at the end of the show allowed curious members of the audience to ask the performers questions about their sexuality and drag. Each of the drag queens spoke about their coming out stories, their favorite songs to perform to and their favorite part of drag.

“I’m proud to say that hopefully I’m influencing someone to view the world differently, to be a little kinder, to be a little more open-minded and to explore different things in life,” Raige said. 

Tanveen Vohra is a staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com