Tennessee university president condemns ‘all ages’ drag show, cancels upcoming events
Following a viral video of a drag queen receiving cash from minors during an event at Tennessee Tech, the school’s president launched an investigation.
Landon Starbuck posted a video of the performance on Twitter on Sept. 7, which featured a drag queen dressed like a monk walking around a stage crossing himself.
Following a viral video of a drag queen receiving cash from minors during an event at Tennessee Tech University (TTU), the school’s president launched an investigation and canceled all scheduled events by the sponsoring organizations.
Landon Starbuck posted a video of the performance on Twitter on Sept. 7, which featured a drag queen dressed like a monk walking around a stage crossing himself. The song “Take Me to Church” by Hozier played in the background before changing to “Middle of the Night” by Elley Duhe.
When the music switches, the performer strips down to a partially see-through bodysuit with a corset, and caresses himself while taking money from children who stood at the front of the stage.
On Sept. 8, TTU president Phil Oldham released a statement condemning the drag show for its “mockery” of Christianity and explaining that the event was not “university sponsored.” Oldham wrote that he was “disturbed and dismayed” by the video, and that the “activities” do not represent the university’s values.
“The university is investigating the activities that took place at this event,” Oldham continued. “As of now, all public events scheduled on campus by these sponsoring organizations are cancelled pending a review.”
The drag show took place at TTU’s Backdoor Playhouse on campus, and was hosted by two registered student organizations, as well as a group called Upper Cumberland Pride (UC Pride). Those student organizations involved were the Lambda Gay Straight Alliance, and TTU’s drama club Tech Players.
Shortly after president Oldham released his statement, the Backdoor Playhouse posted an update to its Facebook account that said “Pride isn’t a thing we do one month out of the year.”
The post continued, “To all of our LGBTQ+ friends: We love you! We see you! We stand with you!”
UC Pride has hosted multiple drag shows over the last year, and sponsored a drag queen story hour in connection with the national network in April. The DQSH official website states that they provide children with “glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”
The organization planned to host another drag show that was open to “all ages” on September 24, with the same co-sponsoring student groups.
On Sept. 10, the UC Pride Facebook page posted a graphic requesting its followers to email TTU “in favor of Lambda, and the Tech Players.” The post further stated that by removing drag shows from campus, the university is “removing something important to the LGBTQIA+ community.”
UC Pride also posted an update on Sept. 9 claiming that the “accusations made on social media are not only false but damaging to all those involved.”
The organization further wrote that during “all ages events, performers are asked to ensure that song lyrics are clean and that there is no sexual connotation to their performances.”
As Campus Reform has previously covered, drag shows are becoming common on college campuses across America.
Campus Reform has reached out to all parties mentioned in this article, and it will be updated accordingly.