US: Catholic College refuses permission for drag show

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A private university in New York has turned down a student group’s application to organise a drag show.

The Gender and Sexuality Alliance club at St Thomas Aquinas College had arranged to have a drag show featuring students, with a professional drag queen hosting. The initial application and funding was approved, but then eventually refused by school officials.

University president Margaret Mary Fitzpatrick told The Journal News: “The question came to me – what would I think of a drag show on campus?

“I thought there could be unintended consequences from a drag show. I was nervous about it.”

She suggested instead they hold an educational event that discussed the history and culture of drag, and its relevance to LGBT communities.

“I thought that that would then create a dignified environment for people to learn about drag and the history. And so, if there is a drag show in the future, there would be positive consequences.”

Students and staff have been keen to make it clear the school is, overall, welcoming and friendly to LGBT people. They have held successful gender and sexuality related events on many occasions.

Professor Robert Trawick said: “We have openly gay students, we have openly gay faculty. For the majority of students, on LGBT issues, it’s just not controversial to them.

“I hope that we can find a way to express our Catholic heritage that is respectful of its traditions and, at the same time, open to free inquiry.

“I believe that best represents the tradition of Thomas Aquinas.”