EXCLUSIVE: ASU spent $5k on Viva La Drag performance
Campus Reform obtained a contract showing that Arizona State University spent $5,000 on a drag performance in November 2021.
School-sponsored drag shows are a common trend among American universities.
Arizona State University paid $5,000 to Kandy Muse, known from RuPaul’s Drag Race, to perform in a drag show at the school last month.
Campus Reform obtained the contract for the Nov. 22 "Viva La Drag" performance from a Freedom of Information Act Request.
The event, which was hosted by clubs Barrett LGBTQ+ Club, El Concilio, and Rainbow Coalition, aimed to “highlight the intersectionality between Latinx/Latiné and LGBTQ+ communities… featuring a surprise drag queen from Rupaul’s Drag Race.”
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ASU is not alone in putting on such programming.
Universities across the country host drag shows at both the amateur and professional level.
Some institutions, like ASU have paid professional performers. But others host or sanction drag shows comprised of local and student performers.
For example, Syracuse University’s Pride Union has run its own student drag show competition for 19 years, with October 2021 marking the third annual Drag Show Bingo at the school.
Penn State University even has a drag ambassador club called Opulence, whose mission is to “create a fun and free space for aspiring drag queens and kings or drag enthusiasts, as well as enhancing an awareness to challenge the gender binary in a way that celebrates the social understanding and comprehension of gender norms.”
The Daily Collegian at Penn State University reported on a July 8 drag “Extravaganza” hosted by Opulence. The publication described the event's atmosphere as one in which, “queens interacted with audience members- showering them with confetti, demanding tips and even dancing on some of them."
Last year, Florida State University hosted a Roaring 20’s Drag Show Jan. 10 to kick off the new decade.
“Audience volunteers were invited up on-stage by Vashai to compete in ‘booty shaking' and lip sync contests. Students cheered on their peers as they twerked to Cardi B. and lip synced to Lady Gaga," FSU News reported.
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Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities still put on drag shows. Both Temple University and the Community College of Philadelphia have held virtual shows in 2020 and 2021.
"Sasha Mala" performed virtually Oct. 9 at Temple University. The Temple News quotes the individual as saying, "Drag allows me to get out of my shell and be more open about politics.”
Campus Reform reached out to Arizona State University, Penn State University, Sam Houston State University, Florida State University, Syracuse University, Temple University, and the Community College of Philadelphia for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.