Rainbow Alliance encourages safe expression with “Drageoke”

Courtesy of Facebook user Suffolk University Rainbow Alliance

Courtesy of Facebook user Suffolk University Rainbow Alliance

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Suffolk University’s Rainbow Alliance has made strides in the LGBTQ+ community by opening up conversation to help educate those who may have misconceptions about drag culture. Last week, the group held a drag workshop to perform tutorials for people interested in learning more about drag makeup and culture. This week, the group put those tutorials to the test at their annual “Drageoke,” a mash up of drag and karaoke, as an appreciation of drag as an artform.

This occasion creates a safe environment for people to express themselves freely without fear of retribution. All the performers, especially those who were wearing make-up opposite their gender’s typical external portrayal, made sure to take off their makeup before leaving because the blurring of gender lines can make people uncomfortable and react in unknown ways, so the performer’s safety could be at risk if they remained in full make-up.

“It [drag] opens the LGBTQ+ community to discussions on not conforming to gender roles and cis-normativity,” said Rainbow Alliance Treasurer-elect Michaela Hallion in an interview after the show. “As well as being a base where we can break traditional gender roles and have a light-hearted, fun space for LGBTQ+ people.”

Halaina Carol / Journal Staff

When it came to performing, in drag or not, people were encouraged to choose a Drag Queen or King stage name to perform under. This ranged from Tequila Mockingbird to Hot Poodle Lover to Charisma Valentin. Everyone who got on stage took on a sense of their name, and sang and danced through the tables of the Somerset Cafe to their hearts content. All received cheers and applause from the audience who were excited to take on these new personaes. Pink, glittery eyebrows, beards, dresses, high heels, and wigs galore enhanced these personae and put the performances over the top as the performers jammed out to their favorite songs. Although, it was the interaction with the crowd that elevated the night. All who did not want to perform still got to participate as the microphone was passed around during performances; singing was encouraged, the correct lyrics were optional.

Attendees who chose to dress in drag could choose to be either a Drag Queen or a Drag King. Drag Queen makeup and dress are used to accentuate feminine features. This would include contouring that creates the illusion of higher cheekbones, a thinner nose and a more prominent arch in the performers eyebrows. They can also make their voice sound higher to further take on this femininity, and change the way they walk.

Drag King makeup does the opposite, it accentuates more masculine features. This can include darkening and thickening eyebrows, contouring to create the illusion of a wider nose, and adding more facial hair to the chin region. These participants can also speak in a deeper voice to take on a more heightened masculinity as well as take on a different walking posture.

“I’ve always had fun watching other people take on different sides of themselves,” said senior environmental studies major, Sophie Kaufman. Kaufman has attended Drageoke every year she has been at Suffolk and performed “Faith” as George Michael two years ago.

The stand out performance of the night was by the glamorous Tequila Mockingbird. In a faux fur sweater and near floor length skirt, Tequila Mockingbird strutted on to the scene in five inch heels, ready to woo the crowd with a rendition of “Your Makeup is Terrible” by RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, Alaska Thunderfuck.

“I like to walk the line of the glamorous and the uncomfortable,” said Rainbow Alliance Vice President Ben Shopper. “Anyone can do pretty.”