Drag Queens are often associated with big hair, lots of makeup and beautiful, over-the-top dresses. This year, Weber State University hosted the second annual Charity Drag Ball, showcasing performances from one of Utah’s only “Drag” organizations: The Imperial Rainbow Court of Northern Utah.
They’re a non-profit organization and have over 70 chapters internationally. Their main goal is to give back to the community and help raise money and awareness for the LGBT community.
“Everything we do is strictly charitable. We don’t make any money off of it,” said Robbie Blaylock, Imperial Majesty Emperor XVI of the IRCONU.
Every dollar goes towards raising money for cause like diabetes, Make a Wish, AIDS, Christmas Box, and Youth Futures. This year’s event focused on homeless youth shelter: Youth Futures.
Youth Futures was the first homeless shelter for teens in Utah. It opened its doors in February 2015. The organization’s goal is to provide a safe place for kids who have been kicked out of their homes, helping these kids avoid life on the streets.
A large portion of these teens are LGBT and are “a very vulnerable population” said Kestin Page, LGBT Resource Center advocate. According to National Conference of State Legislators, “Between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning.”
Veteran Drag Queens like Lady Delish and Mikka Paris performed at the event. In case you’ve never been to a drag show before, it’s traditional for audience members to tip during the performance. Each performer brought their own style to the stage and would offer a small bow after someone would tip during the performance. These displays of gratitude excited the audience members and engrossed them in the performances.
By the end, two of Weber State’s track students, Candace Bowman and Chloe Lund, decided to give the very last performance of the night. They earned not only respect from their fellow students watching them, but two more dollars for Youth Futures.
“I think that drag is really awesome,” said Lund. “I like seeing them going out there and being able to express themselves. And me and (Candace) like to dance in the locker room. So we saw them doing that and thought, ‘Well we do that every day,’ and wanted to join in on the party.”
With both students and the IRCONU performers, the Charity Drag Ball was able to raise $256 for Youth Futures. They encouraged all attendees to join future events, including both drag and non-drag events, to further support the organization help give back to the community and to help spread awareness of teen homelessness prevention.
For more information, visit the IRCONU website.