Dressed in Drag
Performer Miss Sherry Vine brings laughs and acceptance to campus
Music, laughing, snacks and X-rated jokes are a part of the average college experience. One element that some universities may lack is a drag queen, but Quinnipiac is not one of those universities.
On Friday, Sept. 18, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Supporters (G.L.A.S.S.) club recently hosted its annual Drag Show starring Miss Sherry Vine. A very full Buckman Theater experienced a night full of excitement, laughter, comedy and pride.
Opening the show, senior and G.L.A.S.S. president Jilian Pfeifer gave a brief yet informative background on the similarities and differences between the identities of a drag queen, crossdresser and transgender person. Dressed in her drag king best, Pfeifer portrayed her alter ego of “Travis” along with other G.L.A.S.S e-board members dressed in drag for the event.
Pfeifer said G.L.A.S.S. is important as a club because its members depend on it.
“They’re not coming to this club because they think it will better their resume,” she said. “They are coming to this club because people here understand. People here understand what they’re going through, they understand what it’s like to identify… It’s like a safe haven.”
Pfeifer has been presiding over G.L.A.S.S. since the end of her sophomore year at Quinnipiac, and said she rose to the task when the vast majority of the e-board was set to graduate. Pfeifer said she felt that all campuses should have a gay/straight alliance and the experience has been “very rewarding.”
But an event like this is no easy feat. This year would have been the sixth consecutive year of the annual drag show had Vine not been in Milan last year. Pfeifer was dedicated to making this comeback show run smoothly. She got there four hours early.
“Our advisor showed up and said ‘I have never seen an event this organized,’” Pfeifer said.
And it is a good thing she did; upon her arrival at the Buckman Theater, the stage lights were not functioning and were miraculously repaired within hours of the event. When asked if she had any additional comments, Pfeifer, or more accurately Travis, very blatantly stated, “I look like a man.”
In addition to Pfeifer, Courtney “Bobby” Woods, a sophomore at QU, expressed her feelings on the meaning of G.L.A.S.S.. Woods became a member of G.L.A.S.S. her freshman year after being president of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at her high school for two years.
“I made a beeline for the G.L.A.S.S. table right away,” Woods said. “I was really early for the first meeting actually.” She now serves as the vice president.
Similar to Pfeifer, Woods said she regards G.L.A.S.S. as a “safe haven” and a “family” on campus.
“It supports what I’m all about,” Woods said. “Equality and just for everybody to accept everybody in the LGBT community more than they do now.”
Woods said this year is an influential one for G.L.A.S.S., considering the full house at the evening’s performance as well as at the club’s first meeting. Every single seat in the Buckman Theater was full in addition to a standing room in the rear and several viewers sitting in the wings.
“It was amazing to see all the support,” Woods said. “I’m really excited for this group. I feel like it’s just going to grow. As the years progress, it’s just going to be more and more accepted and more and more people, if they haven’t come out already, are going to feel like they can.”
Miss Sherry Vine herself then commented on what performing and the message behind organizations such as G.L.A.S.S. mean to her.
“I’ve been doing it for so long, literally since I was three, that it’s all I’ve ever done and it’s all that makes me happy,” Vine said. “So it’s just my everything.”
Vine said she, though no stranger to the stage, still gets nervous before each show.
“If it connects and they’re into it and people are laughing then I’m just like ‘Okay, great, I’m at home and it’s the best,’” she said.
Vine’s audience was overflowing and diverse, including students, younger siblings, grandparents and great-grandparents. Despite these differences, all attendees seemed to enjoy Vine’s performance from start to finish.
Vine’s “dazzling personality,” as put by Pfeifer, lit up the stage and thoroughly entertained the audience. After questioning the crowd on their sexual identity to establish diversity and jokingly identifying herself as a clown, Vine performed songs such as “Burlesque” and “Everybody’s Girl,” along with raunchy parodies of hits including “Shake it Off” and “Dancing Queen.”
“I just hope people have fun and laugh,” Vine said. And that they did.