Texas A&M University Hosts Drag Show

drag show
Texas A&M University | Image by McKenna Baker/Getty Images

Although federal courts have sided with a campus within the Texas A&M University System that prohibited on-campus drag show performances, the flagship Texas A&M school hosted a drag show last week.

The event called “Draggieland” was held at the Rudder Theater Complex on the College Station campus (TAMU). Hosted by the Queer Empowerment Council, the annual event began in 2020. This year’s show featured an Alice in Wonderland theme.

“Draggieland is a student-run drag show featuring 6 drag queens/kings that compete for the crown of Draggieland in a pageant-style show. Keep up with us on https://linktr.ee/draggieland and check out our socials to see the contestants get announced!” the site stated.

The event was advertised for ages 18 and over.

TAMU’s decision to have the drag show on campus contrasts with West Texas A&M, which prohibited students from hosting a drag show last year, according to Texas Scorecard.

West Texas A&M canceled the show “A Fool’s Drag Race,” which was advertised as “PG-13.” The event was intended as a fundraiser for The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youths.

“As a performance exaggerating aspects of womanhood (sexuality, femininity, gender), drag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood,” West Texas A&M President Walter Wendler said, per Texas Scorecard, explaining why he would not allow the show to be held.

“Drag shows are derisive, divisive, and demoralizing misogyny, no matter the stated intent. Such conduct runs counter to the purpose of [the university],” he added, comparing drag shows to “blackface.”

Spectrum WT, the organization that tried to put on the West Texas A&M drag show, filed a lawsuit against Wendler and other A&M officials, arguing that the group’s First Amendment rights were violated.

A federal judge sided with Wendler, stating that the decision to cancel was not unreasonable and did not violate the First Amendment.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, representing the LGBTQ activist group, appealed the decision to the highest court. However, the Supreme Court declined to intervene while the case is still pending in lower federal courts, as reported by The Dallas Express

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case in late April.

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