PRIDE’s Drag Show brings inspiration to queer community


Jazzy Colbert

First-year Maija Talvitie (Prince Florizel), senior and CLU PRIDE Club co-president Dylan Gallagher (Chan Cla), senior Jerry Tovar (Homo La Flor) and sophomore emcee Ash Langtry closed the CLU PRIDE Club Drag Show by applauding the club’s tech team.

Jazzy Colbert, Reporter

California Lutheran University’s People Respecting Individuality, Diversity and Equality Club hosted their annual Drag Show at the Preus Brant Forum on Friday, April 21. 

Attendees had the opportunity to snack on free donuts from Newbury Donut and snapped photos in front of a backdrop with rainbow-colored props before and after the show. 

Meanwhile, senior and CLU PRIDE Club co-president Dylan Gallagher said that the performers got ready and walked across campus to the forum, where Campus Safety guarded the event in case the drag stars were harassed. 

“We’re gonna be walking across campus in drag,” Gallagher said. “That is something that we made sure that everybody was okay with, and the performers were all good with it.”

Caitlin Fotsch, who graduated from Cal Lutheran in 2022, said that the importance of our campus hosting a drag event is that if a college is doing it, it must be okay, right?

“This shows that you can be a Christian or live in whatever denomination and still support people at the end of the day,” Fotsch said.

Fotsch said that you do not have to be exploring your gender identity to participate in drag, it is all about expressing yourself.

First-year Renée Fournier who attended Friday’s drag show said in an email interview, that this matters especially now because of the increase in anti-trans bills being passed across the country, including Tennessee’s recent decision to ban drag.

“A lot of queer people struggle their whole lives growing up trying to understand who they are and how to fit in, when the rest of the world tries to shove you into boxes they deem normal and acceptable,” Fournier said.

Fotsch said that events on campus like drag shows are important to have as an outlet for queer students to turn to.

“I mean, we got a freshman to perform,” Fotsch said. “That’s beautiful to me that the freshman would be willing to find out about this and get involved.”

Gallagher said that he was worried that the event might not be able to happen this year because of how many performers graduated last year, but the club was able to create a smaller show with himself, senior Jerry Tovar performing under Homo La Flor and first-year Maija Talvitie performing under Prince Florizel, along with sophomore Ash Langtry who was the event’s emcee. 

Gallagher, performing as Chan Cla, danced folklórico to “Jarabe Tapatio,” “Baila Esta Cumbia,” “Bizcochito” and “Quiero Bailar.” Gallagher said that since his mom’s side of the family is Mexican, and since he started transitioning and identifying as trans-masculine before he was an adult, he appreciated the opportunity to use the drag show to pay tribute to strong Mexican women, who he never really got to experience living out.

Talvitie said she is female but she utilized her first drag show to embrace the more masculine side of herself. She said she performed the dance scene from the movie “Napoleon Dynamite” because she has wanted to dance it on stage since her first year of high school, back when she used to dress as male characters, such as Prince Florizel in plays. Talvitie said that when she was feeling nervous before the show, she was able to reconnect to her confidence by remembering that she was Prince Florizel. 

“He’s a very kind person, and he’s very open and devoted,” Talvitie said. “He’s not really self-conscious about how he needs to act as a prince. He doesn’t mind doing silly dances. He just goes out and does things.”

Tovar dressed to the liking of late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, beginning his performance by lip-syncing to a live version of her song “Como La Flor”

I’m Latino,” Tovar said. “Selena was one of the biggest Latin icons in the world historically. So like, why not, she’s amazing.”

Tovar said that he was surprised to hear someone who attended the show ask to get a picture with him afterward in his female drag outfit. 

“You never realized what kind of what the little things mean to people, inspiring students to be able to be more excited and feel more included,” Tovar said. 

Fotsch, who performed as the green M&M in PRIDE Club’s drag show in her senior year, said that she found this year’s show to be really inspiring. 

“I mean, every drag show I go to is really inspirational,” Fotsch said. “But I feel that CLU’s is really more personal, especially about CLU, and what happens here in our queer community. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see them perform.” 

Fotsch said that even though every performance at the drag show was great, her personal favorite was Gallagher’s second number, his rendition of the song “DEADNAME!” by FLASCH because that piece was all about what drag is, telling a story.

During the song, Gallagher stripped down while dancing with a bucket of blue paint labeled “Transphobes’ Tears,” which he used to paint a beard on his face and a heart on his chest. 

Fotsch said that she interpreted this symbolism to mean that we can take the bad times and sprout them and give some new life to them. 

“The second performance is more just being able to help people understand what it means to be trans and transition. Some people do comedy or campy stuff, other people do more like lip sync and sexy stuff, but I just like to have fun with it and make fun of things,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said that instead of doing the usual “YMCA” or “Cupid Shuffle” for a group number, himself, Homo La Flor and Prince Florizel wanted to use the last song as an opportunity to raise awareness via the song “Calm Down” by Remo. He said that a lot of people across the world are using that choreography as a protest on behalf of Iranian girls who were arrested for dancing in public to that song and not wearing hijabs. 

The performers invited audience members to stand and join in the dancing if they felt called to, and nearly everyone did. 

“I hear that people are afraid of joining PRIDE club,” Tovar said. “You can literally just pull up and be an ally. I know the officers there are always about having a good time. Just join because all you’ll get is literally love and care.”