“Who’s ready to enjoy a night full of drag?” asked Jessi Hitchins, the director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha homecoming drag show took place the evening of Oct. 23. The show included performances from students, faculty and professional drag queens, and was judged by a panel of three judges.
To top off the lineup, drag queen Cynthia Lee Fontaine was the main host for the entire event and gave a couple performances throughout the show. Cynthia Lee Fontaine was on seasons eight and nine of the popular drag television series, RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The introduction to the show paid homage to the history and importance of drag shows, which were pivotal in the early days of the pride movement. Drag show culture was heavily connected to the Stonewall riots which would mark a significant moment in American LGBTQ+ history.
Two titles were up for grabs at the drag show: People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice. People’s Choice was earned through money raised by performers, while Judge’s Choice was decided by the judging panel.
The judging panel consisted of UNO graduate student Borin Chep, QTS Student Agency Director Alex Wirth and former drag show champion.
“I was asked to come back as the token alumni,” said Chep, who was the former QTS student agency director and hosted the drag show during its first year.
Students that attended were able to “tip” their favorite performers throughout the evening. The money that was raised was put toward the upcoming Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC), which will be held on UNO’s campus from Feb. 16 through Feb. 18. MBLGTACC is the largest student-led LBGTQ+ conference in the country and will be the largest conference ever held at UNO.
The People’s Choice winners were the performers from Lambda Chi Alpha, who put on a choreographed dance. The act riled the crowd into a frenzy with a complete backflip and high-energy routine.
Judge’s Choice was split on two groups: the drag performers of Sigma Pi Epsilon and the “It’s On Us” campaign, which is raising awareness about sexual assault on college campuses.The “It’s On Us” campaign took a break from the flamboyant fun of the evening to address the seriousness and prevalence of sexual assault. Students carried signs down the walkway with facts about how common sexual assault is and the impact it has on victims. The campaign challenged audience members to do more for survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.
Sigma Pi Epsilon’s success follows their victory from the prior year. This year’s performance was conducted by three fraternity members: Richard C. Oshio III, Gabe Guardado and Nolah Bolich.
We did a lot of practice over at the Westside High School football field,” Oshio said. “We were out from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. some nights. It was pretty brutal.”