Saturday wasn’t University of Oregon student Jane Kissinger’s first time seeing a drag show, but she was excited to see student drag queens perform. For her, the LGBTQA3 Alliance at the UO — which hosted the show — gives her a chance to be herself.
“My hometown is very rural and very conservative, and I felt that as a lesbian, I didn’t have any space for community or for agency,” Kissinger said. “Being part of the QA3 gives me a place where I can be accepted and where I can express myself without any limitations.”
The LGBTQA3 Alliance hosted its annual drag show on Saturday, and this year’s theme was “Dungeons and Drag Queens.” The revenue from the show will go to support scholarships and art supplies for youths attending the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s transgender summer camp.
Sherri Jones is the JSMA’s museum education program coordinator, and she says that she’s been working to reach out to the transgender youth community. She designed the week-long summer camp specifically for transgender and gender-questioning youths between first and eighth grade.
“It’s been a personal desire, and I have family and close friends that are in the queer community,” Jones said. “I think that it would be a really great way for the kids in our community to meet each other, maybe make new friends and just have a safe environment to do some art.”
Jones said that scholarships, art supplies and pay for art teachers are the big expenses that the camp faces.
“Art can be very healing and very community-building too,” Jones said.
Katharine Wishnia, a first-year biology major, has attended one other drag show in Portland, but this was her first show in Eugene.
“The performances were amazing, and I will absolutely go to another show,” Wishnia said.
Halfway through the show, performer Chartreuse proposed to her boyfriend, to whom she dedicated her first number — an original Star Trek-inspired song, “I Bring the Trek.”
Chartreuse is the 45th Debutante of the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Emerald Empire, a community organization modeled after the national organization that was created by gay bar owners in early 1965 as a means to “stand in solidarity with one another under the pressure of police harassment,” according to the ISCEE’s website.
One of Chartreuse’s numbers was a tribute piece to transgender people that died due to hate crimes. Her dress was made of names of those who have been killed, and her piece was an original track that blended the voices of news announcers announcing the deaths of transgender individuals and the song “Praying” by Ke$ha.
“The performance was so tastefully done,” Wishnia said of Chatruese’s tribute performance.