By Kristy Gerlett
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance held its 7th annual Drag Show Thursday night in the Wang Theatre. Nearly 230 students came to support the Stony Brook University club in a night of celebration for gender equality. The event was held in honor of the Ali Forney Center (AFC), a homeless shelter in New York City dedicated to the support and advocacy of displaced LGBTQ youth.
Dakota Eye, president of Stony Brook University’s Next Generation club, said drag culture is a celebration of gender expression and that being a man or woman has little to do with how you were born. Eye said it is important to have nights like this so students can gain exposure and understanding to a culture they might know little of.
“I’ve met a lot of students on campus who came from areas where queer culture isn’t very popular or talked about,” Eye said. “This event is nice visibility and awareness for students who aren’t aware of a lot of this.”
The drag show had singing and dancing performances by the Boys from the Brook and the Pipettes. The drag queens, with stage names such as Shirley Bangor, Ruby Diamond, and Stasha Storm, danced to upbeat music under flashing lights, occasionally weaving through audience members in the theatre. There was a dating game and a deep throat contest that consisted of bananas and red lipstick.
Luke Fontana, stage name Allegria Valentine, who is a senior sociology major, emceed the show. Fontana is a member of LGTBA and emcees once a month at the University Café on campus. He loves to perform as Allegria Valentine because it allows him to create a character and have fun.
“I am just a regular guy,” said Fontana. “I don’t want to be a woman. I’m just a man in a dress doing what I love on stage”
Fontana grew up in a Catholic home and became open with his homosexuality two years ago. Fontana said his fellow LGBTA members helped him through the “coming out” process and happily accepts who he is.
“Before I came out, I was a part of the organization,” Fontana said. “It really helped me find my wings and I am so happy to embrace who I am.”
Patrick Long, whose stage name is Patricia Kunt, performed for the third year in a row. Long is a social worker and says he returns every year because he loves the cause and energy Stony Brook students bring.
“It boosts my confidence,” Long said. “I love watching people enjoy what I do. It’s such a great feeling when people are cheering for you.”
Morgan McGuire, a senior linguistics major, attended the show to support friends. McGuire said events like this are important to show support to those in the LGBTQ community.
“There should never be hesitation to raise awareness and support the community,” McGuire said.
The LGBTA raised over $600 for the AFC and will continue on the tradition of the drag show next year.