Ever feel like Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a drag? Well, for the folks at the LGBTQ Student Resource Center on the Auraria campus, Drag is just a way of life.
This year’s Valentine’s Day marked the seventh annual drag show, Love is a Drag, in the Tivoli Turnhall.
The event was created around the idea of celebrating gender performance, as well as providing a safe outlet for participants to explore who they truly are and to educate the campus on non-binary
gender identities and all while looking fabulous, of course.
In addition to glamorous performers, there was free pizza and chances to make your own Valentine’s Day cards for condoms. Booths were set up, offering various services from the Student Health Center, CU Community Counseling Center, as well as the Phoenix Center, who offered participants an opportunity to create art that defined their personal idea of the word consent.
The event is all in the theme of having fun, said Steve Willich, director of LGBTQ Student Resource Center. It all began from acknowledging a very serious situation. Willich said that back in 2010 or 2011, there was a rash of suicides by young people who were gay or perceived to be gay which received a lot of national attention. Willich wanted to do something to help and decided to put a rally together for support.
“There’s a huge focus on saving the lives of these kids so that they don’t feel like they’re alone,” Willich said. “We asked ourselves what we could do to actually make a difference, so from that we came up with the Drag Show.”
There were a number of performers and overall the event lasted from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. but the first hour served more as a workshop hosted by one of the veteran drag performers, Yvie Oddly, who
spoke about his own personal experiences on campus and what exactly drag means to him.
Audience members were encouraged to ask questions regarding the specifics of drag and even picked up a few tips on how to break into the business for themselves from someone who truly knows the world of drag intimately.
“Love is a Drag, five years ago, was my birth place in drag. Drag is the only queer art form that exists that can’t be robbed from queer identities, it’s our only voice and means of expression that is uniquely us,” Oddly said.
The evening’s MC, Peaches West, was also no stranger to the event. A local educator and advocate, West has been working with Love Is A Drag for over four years. Within that amount of time he’s seen the event grow steadily which he says is a testament to the awareness of not only the event itself but to the charitable causes, as well.
West said supporting Rainbow Alley, a drop in space for homeless or at risk LGBTQ youth, was the most crucial takeaway.
“They provide so many great opportunities and services to those youth and so everyone that comes here is a bigger part of donating just their time or their money to recognize that there is a place
out there for those who need it,” West said.
Rainbow Alley is a safe space supporting LGBTQ youth and their allies ages 11 to 21, providing a drop-in space, youth-led events and activities, counseling and support groups, health services, and life services, all in a warm, welcoming, and supportive environment. To donate or contact go to http://glbtcolorado.org/raindbow-alley/