Students cancel drag show for being 'homophobic'
An LGBTQ student organization at George Washington University (GW) has cancelled its annual drag show fundraiser, claiming the event is “homophobic and counterproductive.”
The philanthropic event hosted by Allied in Greek—a partnership between GW’s Greek community and LGBTQ student organization Allied in Pride—encouraged fraternity members to don makeup and women’s clothing styled by sororities and participate in a traditional drag show. Last year, event organizers donated the $1,300 raised through ticket sales to a national suicide prevention organization.
"The point is to celebrate our similarities and our diverse identities, not to offend people."
Despite its success in the past, students removed the drag competition from this year’s “Allied in Greek Week” after participants labeled the event “homophobic.”
“We had some fun before, but let’s use our resources to amp up education, raise awareness and raise money for charity,” Allied in Pride president Robert Todaro told the GW Hatchet. “The point is to celebrate our similarities and our diverse identities, not to offend people.”
Instead, Todaro and his cohorts replaced the drag show with educational programming aimed at reducing misconceptions about LGBTQ Greek life members.
“[C]ommunities will benefit greatly from increased opportunities for education,” Tim Stackhouse, president of GW’s Interfraternity Council, told the Hatchet.
Throughout the week, members of Allied in Pride visited a number of fraternity and sorority houses to deliver educational pamphlets and answer questions about GW’s LGBTQ community.
To be more inclusive of alternative gender identities, the “Queer Guide” pamphlets encouraged students to use “preferred pronouns.”
“A pronoun does not have to be a 'documented dictionary term' for it to be used,” according to the pamphlets. They also argue that “they/them and ze/hir are just as valid as she/her and he/him.”
Nick Gumas, GW’s Student Association president and former president of Allied in Pride, said drag shows have historically been used to advance the LGBTQ community and disagreed with his peers’ decision to eliminate the event.
“Drag queens were instrumental in starting the Stonewall Riots in 1969, sparking the modern LGBTQ rights movement, so the notion that a drag event is homophobic is not based in historical facts,” Gumas said.
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