Four years ago, a club on campus started something that it had no idea would spiral—not downwards, but in a line, a long line, stretching from Frey past the blue chairs, past the gag.
Well over 350 people anxiously waited in a winding line for hours beforehand, silver admittance bracelets on, waiting for Wayne State College’s PRIDE group’s fourth annual Drag Show.
The Drag Show, which was put on last Wednesday night by PRIDE— People Respecting Individuals, Diversity and Equality—was a way for people to come together and enjoy the performers strutting their stuff in the show.
Melanie Loggins, who opened the show with a unique presentation, is starting a PFLAG group in Wayne. PFLAG stands for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and is an organization to help bridge the possible gap that may exist between family members when one of them comes out.
Loggins asked audience members to reach underneath their chairs to find colored pieces of paper randomly taped to the undersides. Those with papers were asked to come to the front.
“All the people holding blue pieces of paper,” she said as those students did, “represent the people in the room who are lesbian or gay.”
Likewise, green stood for bisexuals, purple for pansexuals, and so on with other colors representing transgender and asexual.
“I hope you’ll cheer for them,” she told the remainder of the audience, as it gave a round of whistles and applause.
“At all times and of all places, this room should be the most accepting [of the LGBT community].”
After Loggins gave out Skittles as prizes to those students holding the papers (“taste the rainbow”), President of PRIDE Ben Robinson took the stage.
Robinson thanked Vice President Lucas Fedde, Secretary Caleb Hayden and advisor Karen Granberg, tearing up.
“Karen is a huge help,” Robinson said after the show. “She helped with all the contracts for performers and everything. This show would not have happened without Karen, Lucas, Caleb, the rest of the executive board, and most importantly the group (PRIDE).”
While some of the performers were booked by Granberg, some were local. Robinson explained the process of determining who would perform in this drag show.
“Performers are selected by a committee. This is Coco Nuttz’s and Janessa Jaye Champagne’s third year at the WSC Drag Show. Performers are recommended from the committee, we decide if we want any returning performers back, and then we decide on new performers,” Robinson said.
But perhaps the most touching aspect of the evening was that the event was raising money for a local cause. Jacob Erwin was the child of a faculty member at WSC. Jacob was born Nov. 22, 2014, and passed away at 7 weeks old, on Jan. 10 of this year, according to his Facebook page, titled “Jacob Erwin’s Fans.”
Just outside the Frey Conference Suite was a large poster for students and attendees of the drag show to sign their names, showing support for Jacob Erwin.
Rustic Treasures donated $200 in cash to be used as tips for the drag performers, and a freewill donation was taken. All of those proceeds went to Jacob Erwin’s Fans.
“We decided that it would be good to keep the cause local this year,” Robinson said. “We raised $520 to donate to Jacob Erwin’s Fans. Last year the record amount of money made was $420, so the entire group couldn’t be happier.”
And the turnout was a success.
“I could not be happier with the drag show,” Robinson said. “It was truly one of the best nights of my college career. Even with that one moment of the back drop falling, it was just incredible.”
And there it is. An idea that was born four years ago has become reality and a huge success, one whose lines may even rival those of stores on Black Friday.
“[The idea of a drag show] had been discussed for a year or so, and the executive board the first year decided to try it,” Robinson said. “I was on that executive board, and we had no idea if it was even going to work, or be popular. And now looking back four years, it’s amazing to see that it’s continued, and not only that, but it has improved as well.”