WCU drag show hosted by TV personality

Host Shangela brings audience members on stage to get to know them. Photo by Imani Stewart.

Host Shangela brings audience members on stage to get to know them. Photo by Imani Stewart.

Audience members stepped into an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race tonight with host Shangela leading the show.

Hosted by Intercultural Affairs and Last Minute Productions, this year’s drag show had to turn away nearly 150 people due to lack of seats at the show. With performers ranging from a WCU student to professionals, the show was entertaining from start to finish.

The night kicked off with a recap of the tragic events that took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando this summer. The audience had a moment of silence to remember those that lost their lives after a reflective news clip of the incident was shown.

Shangela performed her original song, Uptown Fish, while giving a high energy performance before bringing out the performers. The WCU performer was senior Ryder Valentine. Professional performers included Liam Scott, Josie Glamour and Leo Scott. Josie Glamour is a performer at an Asheville club called Scandals as well as a WCU alumni.

Each performer had two routines but aside from “death drops”, spin- kicks, splits and a plethora of costume change,s the theme of the show was “acceptance.”

“Figure out who you are and live in that truth,” said host Shangela. This event was a great way to have fun while also bringing attention to a community that often times gets brushed under the rug.

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed that 32% of Trans people reported experiencing harassment, discrimination, or violence when trying to access a government service or program. Although the transgender community has made great progress, there is still a long journey ahead of them before they will be fully accepted in society.

“With the drag show, it’s a big help to show how the LGBT community can come together and stop the hate,” said Ryder Valentine, drag show performer.

Western is on the path to diversity with an LGBT club, Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) formally known as Individuals Recognizing Identities and Sexualities (IRIS). This clubs allows for a safe space for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender to be themselves and discuss important issues pertaining to them, as well as organize programs to engage the community.

“Once people see us as regular people, they’ll know we’re like everybody else and have feelings. The video shown (at the beginning of the show) does a great job of televising discrimination we face in our community,” said Valentine.

WCU will be hosting a workshop on understanding the transgender community on Nov 7. Speakers will be Liam Scott, Josie Glamour and Leo Scott. Additional guest speakers will be announced at a later date.

For more information see the LGBT community page.