Packed Drag Show crowd raises money for HIV/AIDS

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The Pride Center hosted SVSU’s 11th annual Drag Show on Saturday, April 8, in the Thompson Student Activities Room (TSAR) at 6 p.m.

The Pride Center sold all the tickets it had printed for the event.

Students and community members who bought VIP tickets sat at tables close to the stage and were given a free gourmet cupcake.

More seating had to be added to accommodate attendees who joined the event without buying a ticket ahead of time.

This year’s theme was Fairytale Frolics, which was chosen by Pride Center interns.

In addition to selling tickets, a silent auction was held before the Drag Show started. Many of the silent auction items were also LGBTQ+ themed, such as rainbow paraphernalia, books by members of the LGBTQ+ community and more.

The money raised during the Drag Show went to the AIDS Run & Walk Great Lakes Bay Region and the Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center’s HIV/AIDS Care Program.

Tom Brubaker, the Sacred Heart community relations coordinator, was impressed with the turnout and support the SVSU Drag Show has given the HIV/AIDS Care Program.

“You have made this event a success, and you have done so much to help our AIDS Care Program,” Brubaker said to the audience. “In the past years, you have helped 191 people living with HIV/AIDS in our community. Not only that, but your work has provided free confidential HIV/AIDS testing, including right here at SVSU.”

This will be the 14th year of the AIDS Run & Walk Great Lakes Bay Region, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Lucy Mercier, the director of the Pride Center, impressed upon attendees the importance of the interns who helped made the Drag Show possible.

“The Pride Center is staffed by interns, and they have done the work to get the donations for the silent auction, put this event together, make sure you’re comfortable and make the program for you with professional entertainers who donate their time,” Mercier said.

Several Drag Kings and Queens performed on stage throughout the night. They also interacted with audience members both during and after their acts, such as dancing after receiving a tip. A concession stand box was available for audience members to make change to tip the performers.

Members from Students Encouraging Freshmen (SEF) and Work ‘N Progress kicked off the event, performing in drag to various numbers, including “Sweet Transvestite” from “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Raise You Up/Just Be” from “Kinky Boots.”

Drag Queen DeeDee Chaunte hosted the Drag Show for the rest of the evening. An SVSU alum, Chaunte has hosted the Drag Show for the past few years after entering the world of drag four years ago.

There were two rounds of Drag Kings and Queens. Between rounds and performances, Chaunte led audience members through a series of interactive games and performances, warming them up for the next round.

Audience members such as occupational therapy student Carrie Maro enjoyed the event.

“It was my first time at an event like that,” Maro said. “However, it won’t be my last. The atmosphere of the show was amazing. The Drag Queens and Kings performed an awesome show. It was also a great charity event to raise money to help people with HIV and AIDS.”

Biology student Hannah Doederlein agreed.

“It was my first time ever being able to attend a drag show, and it was a blast,” Doederlein said. “I had a very positive experience and would definitely go to another one. It was a very inclusive and welcoming environment.”

Doederlein believed that the event would help bring positive attention to the Pride Center.

“The Pride Center did a great job and was also raising money for the HIV/AIDS Walk and Run, which is such a great cause,” Doederlein said. “Hopefully, this event also helped raise awareness about the Pride Center as well as the services that Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center can provide.”

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