‘Drag Is Not A Crime!’: Fitchburg State University’s Gay Straight Alliance Holds 16th Annual Benefit Drag Show

On Thursday, March 30th, Fitchburg State University’s Gay Straight Alliance held it’s 16th Annual Benefit Drag Show, ‘Sweet SixQueen’. About 1,000 students, alumni, professors, and beyond filled Fitchburg State University’s Recreation Center for what is New England’s biggest drag show.

This year’s Drag Show comes at an arduous time for drag, and the LGBTQ+ community at large. Currently, anti-Drag and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and sentiment is at an all time high.

As said by GSA President Allison Turner at the beginning of the performance, there have been over 492 anti-trans bills proposed in 2023 alone. A majority of these bills are so vague that they end up seeking to ban drag and transgender people from the public altogether.

In regard to this, Raquel Blake, who was the emcee for this year’s performance, said: “Try me. I’m a drag queen with a microphone.”

A total of 11 drag queens performed this year, and Dance Club’s performance team opened the show with a dance number to Sam Smith’s ‘Unholy’ featuring Kim Petras. All of these performances came with a variety of flashy costumes and songs. From P!nk to Huey Lewis, there really was something for everyone to enjoy at this year’s Drag Show- even for first-time attendees.

“I liked it way more than I expected,” said junior Kris L’Heureux. L’Heureux was at the Drag Show working EMS as a part of Fitchburg State University’s EMS team. “ I thought, ‘Oh, just like look at the first 10 minutes, see how it is and go back to our little nursing station thing that we have. I just watched the whole thing.”

Who can forget the Drag Race? Every year as part of the Drag Show, a few contestants nominated by friends or co-workers are brought on stage and put in drag. This year the contestants had to do their own makeup and come up with their own costumes, which differs from previous years.

“I’m amped, I’m pumped!’ said contestant Delaney Lora. Lora, whose Drag King name of choice was ‘Jerome Whiskers’, ended up winning this year’s Drag King Race.

Lora said they were supposed to participate last year, but that they couldn’t get around to it. So, this year, they were super excited. “I can’t wait to show the crowd my new look.”

This year’s Drag a show was also a statement, and one that is necessary now more than ever. Large rainbow posters stating ‘Drag is not a crime’ could be seen hung up around the Rec Center.

There were also postcards on every table. These postcards had a variety of designs, but all read things such as ‘We don’t want your straight kids to be gay, We want your gay kids to survive’, and ‘ALL of Shakespeare’s plays were performed as drag shows. There were NO female actors- Juliet was a drag queen!’.

All of the postcards were also addressed to either President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris. Attendees were encourage at the beginning of the performance to write how they felt on the postcards, and that GSA would send them out to their respective addresses.

While the decorations and marketing material may have been Sweet Sixteen Birthday themed, there was an overarching message that could be seen throughout all of the performances; we are who we are, we’re going to have fun, and no amount of legislation can change that.