Finals are a DRAG

Finals week is upon us and it can be very stressful for some. 

Exams that are worth more than half your grade. Papers that are seven pages long. Inconvenient exam times that mess up work schedules. Luckily for students, the LGBT Center will host a drag show at 7 p.m. today in Ostrander Auditorium that should help get students’ minds off final exams. 

Zeke Sorenson, director of the LGBT Center, said this event is a great way for students to get their minds off finals. They said drag shows are important as it gives representation to the queer community, and drag is an outlet for the queer community. 

“Historically, drag was one of the first spaces that LGBT folks could enter and feel like it was their space and feel safe in those spaces,” said Sorenson. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what drag shows are, and it’s important to continue to show people that information is not accurate.” 

The group performing is Drag Me With A Spoon, a Mankato-based drag company founded in 2020 by drag queen Wanda Gag. Gag wanted to create fun, inclusive shows and digital content and be a community space for all.  

“Our goal is to bring people together to have fun, uplift each other and bring our community together no matter your background,” said Gag. 

Gag is one of the performers for tonight’s show. Her ancestor’s name was Wanda Gag, so choosing it as her drag name was fitting. She said her partner, Miss Ava Cado, inspired her to do drag. 

“(The original Wanda Gag) wrote children’s books, illustrated beautiful drawings, and fought for women’s rights in the 1920’s. Her name was not only an incredible pun but was similar to my boy name,” said Gag. “Drag to me is being your most authentic self no matter the expectations and limitations imposed on you by society.” 

Gag advises those who want to do drag but don’t know where to start. She also said that “whether you’re queer, straight, cisgender, or trans, everyone is allowed to do drag as long as they do it with respect.” 

“Go grab that eyeshadow palette and some lipstick, find a sparkly outfit, maybe grab a cheap wig, and just go for it,” said Gag. “As artists and performers, we’re always growing and improving, and you’re never gonna do it perfectly the first time, and that’s OK There’s no one way to do drag; you can be a queen, a king, or anything in between.” 

Drag shows have come under fire in recent years as conservative groups have made attempts to silence them. 

Drag queen readings for children in libraries across the country have attracted protests from conservative groups who believe the story times are inappropriate for children. Last summer in Chaska, a drag queen story hour at a children’s boutique store called Little Roos drew both protesters and supporters. Minnesota Public Radio reported that more than 200 people showed up for the event, while a handful of protesters remained outside.

Gag said it is a drag performer’s job to be on the front lines, advocating, organizing and being as loud as possible to show them drag performers won’t be silenced. 

“We’re called drag queens and kings and royalty for a reason because we are leaders in the community and must act as such. Drag is important because we have to be loud and visible and show that we will not be forced into the status quo and that we are free to be our most authentic selves and express that publicly.”

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: The LGBT center is hosting the annual drag show featuring Drag Me With a Spoon, a premier drag show production company in Minnesota. The show will take place tonight at 7 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium to relieve stress from finals. (Courtesy Drag Me With a Spoon)

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