GSA hosts Art of the Drag to show gender performance

Michelle Castano

Staff Writer


“Yass Queen” is now a modern day colloquialism. The phrase can be seen as positive reinforcement, even empowering; moreover, it can be applied to any gender.

Gender can be defined as the state of being male or female, which is typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones.

On Oct. 16, Broward College’s GSA hosted an event named “Art of the Drag” on South Campus. Two drag queens (Charisma Adore and Carmen Adore ) were present to showcase their singing ranges, fashion sense, dance moves and even to answer some Q & A.

“I think that gender is a performance. So how do you perform gender? There’s no other way to show how we perform gender than somebody going outside of their norms (a man dressing up as a woman or a woman dressing up as a man) to show how a gender performance is,” said Dr. Robert Gallagher, Sociology professor at BC.

Students were able to gain more insight as to what it was like to gender bend for both Carmen and Charisma and what life was like on their day-to-day basis.

We learned that Charisma is a singer-songwriter who sings at Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar in Wilton Manners, while Carmen is a talented seamstress, creating everything from dress ensembles to wigs.

No question was left off the table and the Drag Queens spoke with complete candor. A pattern of behavior that was noticed was that when both Queens dressed in drag, they felt empowered and gained an unsurmountable amount of confidence.

When Charisma was just Chris, low self-esteem was an issue for this individual; however, when Charisma was in full blown transformation, the insecure boy that once was, took a back seat. Much like Beyonce’s alter ego, “Sasha Fierce,” a new persona was showcased whilst performing.

According to Dr. Gallagher, there are different types of drag including Drag Queens, Drag Kings, and transvestism. “I think that when we see how people bend gender, we learn more about ourselves, we learn how gender is really just a social construct. We learn how society transforms gender, creates gender and how it can be altered.”

GSA Secretary, Kaleb Karamo orchestrated the event’s question and answer session. The main thing that he took from the presentation was that Drag Queens are just regular people; in fact, out of drag, they dress in sweatpants and work on their businesses.

“It’s not all about drag but they have other things that they do, just like everyone else. People should definitely be more accepting and open to new experiences, because if you don’t, you miss out on a lot of fun stuff,” said Karamo.

According to both Carmen and Charisma, when in drag, they see themselves as theatrical actresses, portraying a character. Moreover, they said that they address themselves as to what they see. In other words, when Carmen and Charisma dress as men, they view themselves as men and in contrast, when they dress as women, they see themselves as women.

Charisma has been doing drag for approximately 6 months, where Carmen has been a Drag Queen for nine years. “I was 16-years-old, and the only way the bars and clubs wouldn’t check my ID was when I was in drag,” said Carmen Adore.

As the Q & A was concluding, Carmen and Charisma had a treat for the audience. They performed songs ranging from Shania Twain, Nicki Minaj and even an original song, composed by Charisma.

For further inquiries in regards to gender, sexuality and even civil rights, students are welcome to check out the GSA club on South Campus.

GSA Member, Carlos Andres Poveda said that he recently joined the organization last month and has been participating in discussions and events since then. According to Poveda, the group keeps members engaged with a Facebook group and a Whatsapp discussion.

GSA meets every Tuesday afternoon from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on the second floor of building 69, room 253 (South Campus).

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