Equality House in Topeka to host drag show

Emily Juhnke, [email protected], is a junior mass media major

The Equality House in Topeka is hosting a drag show at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. The purpose of the event is to both promote equality and to raise money for anti-bullying programs.

The Equality House is one of the five program initiatives of Planting Peace, a nonprofit humanitarian organization based in Florida. The drag show is being put on by Planting Peace under the platform of the Equality House.

The idea for the drag show first began to develop while staff at the Equality House were trying to brainstorm ideas for future fundraisers. They went to various social media outlets and asked people for suggestions on the kinds of events they would like to see.

“We kind of received this unanimous response that nothing would be more perfect than a drag show,” said Amelia Markham, director of outreach at the Equality House.

At first, there was controversy surrounding the idea and the message that it might send to the public. Many thought that putting on the drag show would be seen as a way of mocking the Westboro Baptist Church, a church widely known for their strong stance against homosexuality.

“That was obviously quite alarming to us, because the last thing we wanted to do was send out any kind of message of hate,” said Markham.

After researching the historical significance of drag shows, they found that drag has nothing to do with aggressive mockery. It is a form of art and a way to celebrate and express pride. They also learned that drag shows have been used as fundraisers for charity for many different organizations, even those outside of the LGBT community. After making these discoveries, they decided a drag show would be a perfect fit.

“Not only will it allow us to raise money for our anti-bully programs, but it is also going to give us a chance to describe to people that although we do understand their misconceptions, they are in fact misconceptions,” said Markham.

This is the first time the Equality House is hosting a drag show, but they now have plans to make it an annual event.

“I’m just really excited for the event. I think there will be a good turn out and it will be a fun time for everyone. We have people coming from all over the country to participate in this event,” said Kelsey Rose, Equality House volunteer coordinator.

The show will take place in the front yard of the Equality House. There will be an after party from 8 p.m. until midnight at Serendipity in North Topeka. People are welcome to attend whether or not they were signed up to participate in the drag show.

Markham said that the members of the Westboro Baptist church have stayed quiet about the event so far, but they are expecting this to change on Saturday. The Equality House is located right across the street from the church.

“Our biggest call in communicating with the public is letting them know that this is not a mockery,” said Markham. “It’s more about an organization raising money for anti-bullying.”