Pride’s Drag Ball promises music, performers, fun for all
Ellen Nicholas, Staff Writer
April 20, 2012
Filed under Features
Men in high heels. Girls with mustaches. Must be time for Guilford Pride’s Drag Ball.
You might be wondering what happened to the Gender Bend of year’s past. While the event itself remains largely the same, the name change signifies Pride’s desire to shift the focus of the event back to mutual respect and enjoyment.
“The Gender Bend was becoming more of an excuse to get drunk and dress in drag or in minimal clothing and shifted farther and farther away from the original educational and accepting environment it was intended to be,” said Kim Parmenter, senior and Pride president in an email interview.
“To reflect this change, Pride discussed the issue with the new Trans*Action group on campus and decided to change the name to represent more of what the Gender Bend had come to be — thus, Pride’s Annual Drag Ball was born,” continued Parmenter. “Or rather, evolved.”
Shelby Smith, first-year and Pride public relations co-chair, reiterated the renewed emphasis on respectful fun.
“It’s basically the same event, but the name change kind of came with our look into different gender issues,” said Smith. “It’s more about drag rather than actual ‘gender bending.’ Some people see it as the same thing, but there is a difference because drag is more like a performance, more costume-oriented.”
Along with the new title, the Drag Ball also moved from the Alumni Gym to Sternberger Auditorium.
“The alumni gym is really big and it seems to me that if there’s a lot of space, it kind of feels less vibrant and fun,” said Smith. “I think you have to get people a little closer together, and Sternberger is perfect.”
Along with the more intimate atmosphere, Drag Ball attendees can expect food, music and live performances.
“The event will live up to its name — there will be several drag performances throughout the dance, and we’ve got an awesome DJ straight from the Guilford community,” said Parmenter.
IT&S staff member James Lyons will be DJing the Ball this year, which is not foreign territory for him considering he DJed previous Gender Bends and Coming Out Balls.
The music will also contribute to producing a safe, considerate atmosphere for the ball.
“We will not play artists that have shown negative feelings towards the LGBTQQAAI community (so no Eminem, Elephantman, etc.),” said Nicole Guilfoyle, senior and vice president of Pride in an email interview. “It will be a safe space, and participants may dress/express themselves however they choose.”
It is also important to note that gender-neutral rules of decency apply to the dress code.
“Basically, if it’s part of your body you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see, we don’t want to see it either,” said Parmenter. “Respecting your fellow students’ bodies and identities is much more important than trying out your new plastic wrap bikini.”
In addition, Parmenter wants ball-goers to be aware that you will need your Quaker card to get in; you are responsible for the actions of any outside guest you bring. You may also want to bring cash to tip the performers.
Come to Sternberger Auditorium on Friday, April 20 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a fun-filled, welcoming, inclusive night of dancing.
“I encourage everyone to come out and have an awesome time and to take advantage of the opportunity to present yourself in a way that you wouldn’t normally,” said sophomore Sarah Mehta, Pride secretary. “It’s a really good opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and know that you’ll be accepted for it.”