Don’t Call It a Drag Show

Chris Sinclair/New University

The Irvine Queers club hosted their third annual “This is NOT a Drag Show” event in PSLH 100 on Thursday, May 5. The show started at 7 p.m. and ran until 9 p.m., and attendees stayed for a post-show question-and-answer segment with the performers and organizers.

Greeters at the door gave out lipstick smiles, fitting with the theme “Why So Serious?” The audience filled the seats in the center of the lecture hall, along with a few sitting on the sides. “This Is NOT a Drag Show” consisted of 12 acts, a video and a closing segment. The show started around 7:22 p.m. with the first two performers being cited by Batman as being in “gender violation.” The various acts that followed ranged from lip syncing and dance to a monologue to spoken word. All of the acts received hearty clapping and cheering from the audience.

One notable act was Geraldo Raygoza’s monologue, “Diary of an Angry Femme.” “The penis is mightier than the sword,” she said while walking the audience through a life where she felt her inner girl repressed and forced to act chauvinistic, sexist and overall “masculine.”

Another notable act was Ryan/Rae/Rachel DeAngelo performing an act to the song “Do It Like a Dude.” The act featured dancing, stripping, a fake penis and the powerful quote written on Ryan’s back, “Property of Myself, a Dude.” The act itself was boldly sexual and drew the audience’s attention and approval. The act is based on what a man and masculinity are like from a transgender/gender-queer perspective. The emcee’s comment after Ryan’s performance summed up the intensity of the act with one simple word: “Damn … ”

The featured video was a collection of clips collected around campus, asking people questions like “what does ‘drag’ mean?”  Many answers were the stereotypical image of a biological male dressing as a female, which is what the Irvine Queers were trying to avoid with the title “This is NOT a Drag Show.”

The reason for titling this show, “This is NOT a Drag Show” was left up to the interpretation of the individual, and was addressed in the Q-and-A section after the show. An audience member commented on the theme, saying that it was a beautiful idea, since it was about people expressing themselves as they view themselves. One of the performers stated that a “drag show” almost always has the connotation of “drag queen,” and by not calling this event a drag show, it opened up the boundaries of self-expression.

The Irvine Queers collaborated with a UCI women’s studies professor and pulled various aspects from their classes to incorporate into the show. In addition, anyone who desired to perform was given the space to do so in any way they chose; there were very few to no restrictions on what a “legitimate” show was.

Along with the Irvine Queers club, another transgender resource on campus is “T-Time.” This is an informal discussion time facilitated by Kaia Hambaro for anyone who identifies as transgender, gender-variant, gender non-conforming or is questioning their gender identity. These talks are held in a private location on campus, and anyone interested is encouraged to email Kaia ( for more information.

“This was my first time doing drag, and I had a blast,” said Trevor Willis, one of the performers after the show. “The transformation process of becoming an alter ego is really empowering and I encourage others to try it. I’ll definitely be doing it again!”