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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Gender F Extravaganza challenges stale gender roles

Swaying with hands on hips, about 30 students danced behind rainbow-colored disco balls as performer Jessie O’Brian mouthed Cher’s latest hit, “I Hope You Find It.” On Saturday, April 19, students filled the Community Center for Pride’s Gender F Extravaganza, one of the club’s two annual dance parties.

Formerly known as the Drag Ball, Pride felt a change of name was in order this year.

“The idea is to get people to start talking about gender as ideas rather than these set in stone roles we’re meant to play,” said first-year Pride member Colin Nollet. “It’s a lot more than guys putting on dresses.”

In an email interview, sophomore Pride member Cara Messina said, “We wanted people to understand that the history of drag is about playing with gender and making it clear that gender is simply performance.”

The evening of performances by professional drag queens started and ended with jokes. O’Brian, the queen who opened the show, joked about performing for a majority gender-conforming audience.

“It’s weird getting tips from heterosexuals,” O’Brian exclaimed.

The first musical performance was from Devonte Jackson, dressed as Alvin from Alvin and the Chipmunks. Jackson lip-synced a rendition of “Troublemaker,” which, unfortunately, included a few piercing amp drones.

The third act, Ava Park Devine, stripped off her shimmering black dress halfway through the performance, revealing a bright green gown. She dipped into the crowd to embrace event goers. The crowd went wild.

For many first-years, it was their first time seeing a drag performance. Others were familiar with the event.

First-year Molly Marcotte said her mother takes her family to see drag annually. This time, Marcotte said she “came to support every kind of human being.”

Some students dressed androgynously, while others opted for more costume-like outfits.

Sporting a clip-on white collar with golden spikes, Nollet took a more gender-fluid route.

Sophomore Eleanor McTigue was called up to the stage by one of the performers. Dressed in a gender ambiguous outfit, a baseball hat and an oversized denim shirt, the queen joked that she couldn’t tell if McTigue was a boy or a girl.

The evening ended with a sweet melody akin to a high school farewell song. Students swayed their arms in the air to “We are Young” by Fun, acutely summing up the night.

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