Puttin’ on the Ritz

While lip-synching to Rufus Wainwright tunes is really no longer drag, I did enjoy myself at Gayla last night. Gayla, the year-end annual banquet thrown by the LGBTQ center at the University of Kentucky is a glittery mess of beautiful souls, spotlights and strategically placed duct tape. This was my last Gayla and despite being no longer directly in charge of the event I sure did a lot of running around. I have a hard time letting go in this way.

My “drag” last night consisted of being Rhianna’s boy in “What’s My Name?” (the square root of 69 is, in fact, not 8 something but 8^(1/5)) and having a solo piece with “Stairway to Paradise” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. I say “drag” in that my actual personality is not much of a departure from a top-hatted and caned dandy trapezing around to show tunes. Good thing as it is crazy finals crunch time and I had not rehearsed an much as I would have liked. I believe I made up for small technical errors in gobs and gobs of enthusiasm. I think it worked. I may need a new gimmick soon, but dropping my tux pants to reveal golden glitter shorts sure was a crowd pleaser. My favorite moment will always be losing my shoes, going to do a spin and sliding into the fabulous Ellie Herring who I proceeded to pull up with me to dance. What great friends I have indeed.

We thanked the founders and I talked for a hot second. I thanked everyone profusely for getting involved but challenged them to do that much more. Minor miracle: I didn’t cry. Though I could hardly see the crowd through the lights, the round of applause told me everything I needed to know.

The volunteers and the executive board of the Outsource and UK Gay-Straight Alliance are some of the hardest working and most passionate folks on campus and in Lexington. They run the center daily which is much more of an olympic feat than one might guess. They provide listening ears and soft shoulders to the student who is just coming out. They give great hugs to support frazzled and frantic seasoned queens (i.e. me). The University of Kentucky should be ashamed that is has yet to provide professional staff for its LGBTQ community. Judging by the 200+ folks in attendance, not to mention the table full of student involvement staff and administrators, the LGBTQ community is important to a lot of people. The success and well-being of all its students should be the university’s priority – not just ours.

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