The line waiting for the doors to open for Advocate’s annual Drag Show on Oct. 21 was more than 50 people deep, half an hour before the show was scheduled to begin.
Advocate is Loyola’s official student organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students, and it provides a community where members discuss sexuality, gender and social justice issues.
Every year, the student group organizes and sponsors the Drag Show, in which Loyola students perform as their alter egos.
The main focal point in the Damen Multi-Purpose Room, where the show took place, was a stage that extended in three different directions, illuminated by multi-colored lights and a spotlight.
The performers walked, ran and danced across the stage in every direction while whole-heartedly lip-syncing to songs blaring over the speakers.
For the past three years, Loyola alum Khamora Hall has hosted the show.
“I think a drag show means freedom for me because it really lets me become who I want to be,” Hall said. “I think we all have creative juices stuck in us, and if we don’t let that out, we go kind of crazy, and so a drag show is just an amazing release for that inner artist in everybody.”
The number of people who came to see the show exceeded the amount of seating available.
One audience member, 18-year-old freshman Sophia Swain, said it was her first time seeing a drag show.
“I think it’s a really cool opportunity for people to show off part of their authentic self even though it’s an act or their alter ego,” Swanson said. “It’s really cool to see people let loose and be comfortable in their own skin.”
Students weren’t the only ones in the audience; parents of the performers also attended.
Leslie Marley, the mother of a performer named Roland, said she was impressed with all the performers’ talents.
“I’m really proud of Loyola for hosting [the show], and I think it’s really important that everyone is able to be authentic to themselves,” Marley said. “I just want to say I love my daughter very much. I’m very proud of her, and I’m proud of everyone here.”
Performer Rocky Horrible said he enjoyed the show, and especially the audience’s attention and engagement.
“I had a lot of fun. Because we’re a Catholic University, I was shocked when there was a drag show as big as this,” Rocky said. “But us being able to perform at the drag show shows that Loyola is a weird, interesting and cool place.”
Throughout the show, wigs and jewelry were thrown into the air, and performers kicked off their shoes.
The host ended the event with a performance of her own, during which her wig came off and the crowd went wild.
When she explained to the audience that she couldn’t believe she’d just performed without a wig, an audience member shouted from the back of the room, “You’re beautiful with or without [the wig]!” The crowd erupted with cheers and applause.
“What I love about doing this drag show is that it’s a supportive, safe space,” Hall said. “So, no matter what happens, people are going to love you and cheer you on.”