Last Thursday, OUT@UTM hosted the fifth annual Drag Pub night at the Blind Duck Pub. Approximately 125 students turned up — well above the attendance numbers from previous years. Though the theme of the pub night, Come as you are, come as you arent, implied that guests should dress up as the opposite sex, an inclusive environment for all was encouraged, drag attire or not.
Annie Pham, a third-year English and classics student, suggested that the theme is a means of challenging gender stereotypes. Its about making [gender] a personal choice, not a social one, said Pham.
Events like Drag Pub help to build the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and queer network at the UTM, explained Pham. As a first-year student, I was scared to go to a meeting, but I dont regret it. Ive met many of my best friends in this group, she added. Pham also noted that the event is not exclusive to just the members of OUT@UTM. We must be doing something right. The crowd is getting bigger every year, she noted. The hostess of the evening was Miss Anita Rodinmee, otherwise known as Ryan Singh. Singh, a UTM history graduate and founding member of OUT@UTM, has been participating in Drag Pub since it first began.
A couple of years into the club, the executives decided to start a drag pub and asked me to host it. I was thrilled to, said Singh who opened the night with a dynamic lip sync performance of Popular alongside Kumari Giles, OUT@UTMs social coordinator, who organized this years pub night.
I love performing. I love the idea of doing it as a woman — I find that I change my voice and exaggerate my mannerisms and [the experience] makes me feel good, declared Singh.
The show included a wide range of acts with puppets, live music, juggling, lip sync and dance routines performed by drag queens and kings. Ramada Ricecake (more formally known as Ramon Vitug) performed two solo dance routines and also danced as a member of the group Trannylicious.
When not on stage, Vitug is a third-year theatre student who was enthusiastic about the opportunity offered by this event. Naturally, Im a creative person. When I feel like the audience enjoys my performance, I want to give back to them. Vitug added that because Drag Pub only happens once a year, the participants strive to make the event as memorable as possible. [Students] who want to express themselves, who are proud, who want to bring this culture to UTM have this Drag Show, he explained.
The visibility factor of Drag Pub is imperative because it allows the rest of the school to know that there is diversity on campus. Giles, who was delighted with the event exclaimed, The show was a huge success. It was a fabulous night full of gender bending performances and dancing.
Drag pub wrapped up the performances with a prize draw for guests and concluded the evening on the dance floor.