She had sass. She had style. She had six-inch heels on. And, she had a penis. She was Scarlett Ecstasy, the host of Linfield’s first “Drag Show for Tolerance,” who undoubtedly left the audience wowed, inspired and perhaps a little shocked, but all in good fun, April 19 in Ice Auditorium.
The drag show was the final event during Linfield’s Sexuality Week, which was organized by FUSION Club. The week was dedicated to promoting tolerance for individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ).
Ecstasy, who’s name is Alex Sylvester when not in drag, brought her boyfriend Rennata Flambée and friend Ginger Holiday to perform the show. Accompanying them were nearly 40 members of the Gay-Straight Alliance from the University of Oregon. Ecstasy, Flambée and Holiday each performed their own routine. There were four acts featuring eight Linfield students.
Sophomore Jeremy Odden took on the identity of ZaZa. Dressed in a red satin dress, high heels and a brown-colored wig, ZaZa wooed the crowd and danced to the jazzy “I Am What I Am” by La Cage Aux Folles.
Sophomore Ian Franceschi wore a sparkly blue sweater that perfectly matched his nail polish. Franceschi, or I should say Tracy Summers, exuberantly danced to “Ready or Not” by Britt Nicole.
Next, it was FUSION Club’s president Aidan Willers’ time to shine. Using the stage name Crystal Bowercox, he energized onlookers with scandalous and well-composed dance moves. Bowercox embodied Ke$ha flawlessly; from the tight, studded leather jacket and see-through leggings, to the sassy attitude that enhanced Ke$ha’s song “All That Matters (Is the Beautiful Life).” Willers, or Bowercox, was awarded the People’s Choice Award for best act at the end of the show.
Five students performed the final Linfield act and titled themselves All Directions. Sophomores Meghan Bauder and Caitlyn Hertel, junior Ariana Lipkind, and freshmen Joanna Buchholz and Emily Wells dressed as classy gentlemen in buttoned-up shirts and slacks. Junior Caleb Taylor portrayed a young lady wearing a vibrant blue skirt. All Directions galvanized the crowd with synchronized choreography to “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction.
But the show represented something much larger than divas cracking sex jokes.
“For one, it’s an experience you’re never going to get any where else. Two, it opens your eyes to a whole new world. And, it was hilarious,” senior Bob Nix said.
It brought people from all walks of life together. It did not matter if you were gay or straight, how you usually spent your Friday nights, what clothes you were wearing or how silly you looked dancing along to the music. It was about bringing the Linfield community, and a few friends from the University of Oregon, together. It was about respect, tolerance and unity.
Although the drag show was the main event of Sexuality Week, there were events earlier in the week that also reaped success. A condom bingo took place April 15, an LGBTQ Trivia day April 16 and screening of Brokeback Mountain on April 17.
Members from FUSION Club said that the mock wedding, which took place April 18, had the most participants than any past years they had experienced.
“It definitely went really well. I’m happy that so many people showed up.” Willers said. “You got to love a wedding, right?”
The Day of Silence forced participants to take a vow of silence to protest bullying of the LGBTQ community. It lasted from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 19 and led up to the drag show.
“We’re trying to make lesbian, or gay, or bisexual, or transgender or questioning more societally normative,” Willers said. “We are trying to push it to forefront. Because we are not going away.”
Willers said that the LGBTQ community is growing worldwide as people develop the confidence to reveal their true feelings.
“We want to have Linfield be a more tolerant place. And, I think this drag show is one of the first steps to that.”
Carrie Skuzeski/Culture editor
Carrie Skuzeski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org