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IMU to host 10th-annual Drag Ball

BY CLAIRE DIETZ | OCTOBER 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa will celebrate LGBTQ History Month by showcasing a colorful culture that many have heard of but few have seen for themselves: drag.

Spectrum UI — formerly the UI Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allied Union — will host the 10th-annual Drag Ball with the hope of making this year the best yet.

The Drag Ball will take place at 9 p.m. Friday in the IMU Second-Floor Ballroom, featuring both professional and amateur drag performers. Audience members are also encouraged to wear Halloween costumes.

Spectrum UI executive board member Kristin Luensmann said the event showcases a classic aspect of gay culture.

"I think this event is important for the LGBTQ community in Iowa City and on the University of Iowa campus," Luensmann said. "It allows people to experience something that has long been associated with the LGBTQ community— the drag show — in a safe and welcoming environment."

Luensmann said the Drag Ball is also an important social event for students, with nearly 200 people attending in years past.

"It allows LGBTQ-identified or questioning individuals to mingle and make new friends," she said. "Individuals would benefit from this by having somewhere safe that LGBTQ individuals and allies can mingle and have a good time with other like-minded or similarly identified individuals while having the opportunity to enjoy a free performance."

Though many college students are unfamiliar with drag culture, Spectrum UI executive board member Chloe Cable said the Drag Ball will provide an inclusive and educational environment.

"It's a fun cultural thing to experience," she said. "Besides the experience of seeing performers, Iowa City is a very accepting area, and having a dance this popular that involves drag just proves how accepting Iowa City is. It shows that people really support the LGBT community here in Iowa City."

Spectrum UI executive board member Sarah Towles said drag offers a chance for self-expression through costume and performances.

"People are putting on a new face or a different gender, and they're having fun with it," Towles said. "I think of drag as a way that people can alter their gender expression without altering their gender identity. Drag is a fun way for people to be aware of what aspects other genders perform on a daily basis … Men usually don't experience the efforts taken by women to perform that gender through their clothing, and it gives them a less dangerous and less judgmental outlet to do so."

The Drag Ball will not only act as a safe environment for LGBT-identifying individuals but those questioning their sexuality or gender identity as well, said Spectrum UI secretary Julia Fahr.

"I believe that this event can support questioning and identifying individuals alike," Fahr said. "It challenges the process of what society expects, as drag shows and an event such as Drag Ball are not exactly an everyday thing to the general population. I also believe that the event allows all individuals a perspective they might not otherwise have, and for those questioning, it may allow them to explore another facet of their identity."


10th-annual Drag Ball
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: IMU Second-Floor Ballroom
Admission: Free


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