Drag Show Canceled, Students Vow To Continue

drag show
Students protesting on campus | Image by Michael Cuviello/USA Today Network

West Texas A&M University canceled a student drag show Monday, claiming such shows discriminate and insult women and womanhood.

“Drag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood,” said Walter Wendler, president of West Texas A&M University (WTAMU), in an email to teachers, students, and staff, as reported by NBC News. “Drag shows are derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny, no matter the stated intent.”

Wendler compared drag shows to blackface, noting that such shows were also unacceptable regardless of intent and stating that he “would not support ‘blackface’ performances on our campus, even if told the performance is a form of free speech or intended as humor. It is wrong.”

More than 8,000 people have signed a Change.org petition hoping to “save” the drag show, despite the fact that the creators of the petition say the drag show will take place no matter what.

“We, the students of WTAMU, hope to bring this issue to Dr. Wendler’s attention and urge him to reinstate the drag show on-campus. We are holding this drag show whether we have his support or not, but his extreme lack of compassion for the LGBT+ and activist student population on campus shows with this latest e-mail,” says the petition.

In response to Wendler’s letter, more than a dozen students held a protest with LGBTQ symbols such as rainbow flags and signs which read things like “Women who love drag” and “Don’t drag us down,” according to NBC News.

The drag show was originally organized in order to benefit The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth.

Wendler reportedly wrote in the letter that students should donate to The Trevor Project but not attend the drag show, according to NBC News.

Drag shows in North Texas have drawn significant attention lately, including protests and investigation by the state over the admission of children to allegedly inappropriate performances.

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