Drag queens sparkle

The following story has updated with the correct spelling of Ceduxion Carrington’s name. 

The queens of the Diva Drag Show displayed their femininity while encouraging individuality at the show’s 10th anniversary on Eastern’s campus Monday.

“Diamonds are a Ghouls Best Friend” was hosted by EIU Pride and the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Services.

Drag queen Ceduxion Carrington started the event by thanking allies in the audience for showing their support.

“I want to thank the straight people for coming out to experience something new, but I also want to thank the straight people for making gay babies because we can’t do it,” Carrington said.

Ceduxion also encouraged the inclusion of those who stray from the norms of sexuality.

“I’m tired of all this discrimination in our own community,” she said. “We are a beautiful community of diversity.”

Molly Ferris, a junior psychology major and coordinator of the show, said if everything went well there would be a lot of crowd participation and cheering.

“I hope that everyone has a good time and wants to come back and looks forward to it every year,” Ferris said. “Every year, we try to make it bigger and better.”

Ferris, the vice president of EIU Pride, said although the show’s theme changes annually, Pride makes a point to try to use the same drag queens each year.

“The line up 10 years ago was slightly different than now, obviously,” Ferris said. “We love to keep the same queens, and they love to come back. Since it’s just for them, it’s really fun.”

With names like Leiloni Stars, Ceduxion Carrington, Calexus Carringon, Kelasia Karmichael, Amaya Mann and Sienna Mann, the majority of the night’s performers were from central Illinois.

Mick Arney, a junior biology major at Lake Land College, said he was surprised to learn the queens come from hometowns like Bloomington and Champaign.

“I didn’t know they were close by,” he said. “I had heard of them, but I didn’t know they had them at Eastern.”

Other students come annually and use the Diva Drag Show as inspiration for their own campus’ Pride groups.

Stevi Davis, a junior art major and leader of Lake Land College’s Pride group, said the drag show is a good way to introduce students to the LGBTQA community.

“I wouldn’t mind having a week dedicated to our Pride group,” Davis said. “The drag show is a lot of fun, and it’s a good way to get the students more involved.”

Ferris said the most exciting part about the show’s 10th anniversary was the theme.

“Diamonds are sparkly and fabulous, and that’s fun to play with,” she said.

Those who attended were invited to come in costume to show off their own alter egos and compete for the best costume. The audience members were not the only ones sporting their alter egos, however.

Veteran drag queen Leiloni Stars came in from side-stage dressed in a hockey mask and leather while she pretended to stab audience members to classic thriller music.

Ferris said the performer-audience interaction is one of the most rewarding aspects of the show.

“For a lot of people, it can sometimes be their first drag show so they may not know what to expect,” Ferris said. “Just being able to get up and interact with the queens is really fun.”

Free HIV testing was available on the third floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union throughout the show in support of sexual health.

Erin Walters, executive director of SACIS, said the show specifically supports EIU Pride, but it is also intended to speak to any person on campus about sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment.

“We support Pride because we know it’s not only the LGBT community that’s involved in sexual violence,” she said.

Katie Smith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].