As a way to raise money for the LGBT homeless community, faculty, students and professionals dressed up in extravagant drag costumes for the 10th Annual Drag Show on April 14 in the Student Activities Center Auditorium.
The event, hosted by the Stony Brook LGBT Alliance, served as a fundraiser for the Ali Forney Center, a New York City-based community center that helps LGBT homeless youth, and for the Stony Brook Emergency Housing Fund, an organization that the LGBTA hopes to kick off this year.
“The idea of the fund is to have money reserved for students that could potentially be homeless during intersession or summer break and help them pay for housing,” Sydney Gaglio, a junior theater arts major and the president of the LGBTA, said.
The event, which was hosted in the Tabler Arts Center Black Box Theater in past years, was moved to the auditorium because this year was a special one. Not only was it the 10th year of the show but also the first time it served as a fundraiser for two organizations instead of one.
The auditorium was nearly filled to capacity despite many students leaving campus for Easter weekend.
“I was either terrified that we were going to be in this giant space with no people, or in this giant space filled with people,” Gaglio, also known by her drag name Syd Alexander, said. “But I’m really glad that there was such a huge turnout because its community members, students, faculty, staff and alumni that come together for a good cause and to have fun.”
Drag shows usually feature performers, both men and women, dressed up as the opposite gender that sing or lip-sync songs while performing choreographed routines. Performers often wear extravagant costumes and makeup, and are sometimes dressed to imitate famous singers, performers or personalities.
The professional guest impersonators this year featured Sasha Halliwell, who performed a Formation Tour mix as Beyoncé. She has been performing at the drag show since its second year.
Another drag queen who goes by the name Miss Patricia said that she and other professional drag queens and kings participate in this event because they like the positive atmosphere, crowd and, of course, to support the charitable cause. She performed a Lady Gaga mix and was joined by Halliwell for a collaboration of “Telephone.”
Faculty members also participated in the event. They included Sheldon Coleman, the associate director of facilities operations, whose stage name is Shelly Lemonade, Chris D’Orso, the assistant director of admissions, whose stage name is Christy Belle, Chris Tanaka, the coordinator of LGBTQ Services, whose stage name is Chris P. Kreme, and Christine Noonan, the director of student engagement and activities, whose stage name is Nooney Tunez.
SB Live performed during the intermission and a few of its male members joined the drag by donning dresses, makeup and wigs.
The last and probably most memorable performance of the evening was a collaboration between the three professionals, Miss Patricia, Halliwell and Savannah, as they took the stage to perform “Read U Wrote U,” a song by the famous drag queen RuPaul featuring The Cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, Season Two.
“This is my seventh year doing it after hearing about the show from Sasha,” Miss Patricia said. “I just love doing the show because the crowd is so good and Stony Brook has always been accepting of the LGBT community and it’s awesome that they even allow the club here to even have a drag show.”
While the show raised $1,200 last year and has consistently raised over $1,000 the past three years, Gaglio said that “although final counts were not complete,” they were “close to raising close to $2,000” this year, which would set a new record for the most amount the event has raised.