Drag shows return to CSU with student performers


Cleveland State University’s Drag Show was held this year in the Student Center Ballroom.
Credit: Alexis Figlar

Cleveland State University’s LGBTQ+ Center, in a partnership with the Queer Student Alliance, hosted its Student Drag Show at 7 p.m. on April 4th in the Student Center Ballroom. This was the first drag show the center hosted since 2021.

In November 2021, the LGBTQ+ Center hosted a drag show, but didn’t have the funding to host a second the following year. The time after the show was spent saving and planning the next one in conjunction with the Queer Student Alliance.

All of the planning from the LGBTQ+ Center and Queer Student Alliance came to life as they held this year’s Student Drag Show. Student and professional performers were able to share their art with the audience in a way that allowed them to be true to who they are.

Well over 150 students and supporters gathered together in the Student Center Ballroom during the show on April 4. Students gathered together in a similar way in 2021.

Students and guests dressed for the event and did not disappoint.
Credit: Alexis Figlar

“We’re all outsiders in a way,” Giana Formica, an intern at the LGBTQ+ Center, said. “The last time we had this event, queer students and allies from all over campus came to support the student performers and have a good time.”

In preparation for the April show, Formica and other staff members spoke with students interested in trying drag as an artform. Some student performers were too nervous to perform in the last show or weren’t enrolled at CSU at the time.

Walking into the event guests were offered snacks, LGBTQ+ pins, flags, glowsticks, and more. Students and friends of the performers eagerly waited for the show to start.

There were eleven student performers alongside two professional performers, Dean Heartthrob and his drag mother, Pineapple Honeydew, who both self describe as, “professionally gay.” Some performers were first timers, like Bruschetta, and some were returning crowd favorites, like Tortilla Loca. Much like every drag show, the audience gave it up for every performer and some even threw in tips.

One CSU student, Cailyn Starnes, attended the drag show in hopes of having a good time surrounded by LGBTQ+ peers and allies. Starnes was a first time attendee of a drag show and shared with The Cauldron that she was very pleased with her experience. 

“My favorite part of the show was when two of the drag performers actually came up to me and sang to me specifically.” Starnes stated. “It was just a lot of fun and I can’t wait to go to another one!”

Overcoming the barrier of the budget, the LGBTQ+ Center and CSU Queer Student Alliance successfully held an interactive drag event that was fun for all the students and supporters that were in attendance.

Magnus poses in front of a pride flag just before he takes the stage to dance and show off his skills.
Credit: Alexis Figlar

The LGBTQ+ Center provides resources for students and allies as well as a safe space to express oneself. Through various events and emphasis on community the LGBTQ+ center creates an inclusive and welcoming space on campus. The LGBTQ+ center is located at Berkman Hall 211. 

“The epitome of queerness is being able to share your art with people who care about you and being open about yourself,” Formica said.