USD drag show goes on despite protests

With a half dozen protesters kneeling in prayer outside, seven cross-dressing performers danced and lip-synched to a sold-out crowd of 200 Wednesday night at the University of San Diego’s first-ever drag show.

Despite protests from alumni and others before the event, USD’s administration refused to cancel the drag show, which was sponsored by the school’s PRIDE organization. Those who wanted the show canceled said it was not appropriate for a university that identifies itself as “Catholic” to sanction such a function. According to opponents, some 7600 people signed a petition opposing the drag show.

USD president Mary Lyons told university trustees in a letter that the drag show was not inconsistent with the university’s Catholic identity, and named three other ‘Catholic’ colleges that have sponsored similar events — Santa Clara University, DePaul University, and the University of Seattle.

Two two-hour show began at 7 p.m. amid tight security at a small venue at the University Center called UC Forums. No videotaping was permitted and the news media were denied entry.

A small group supporting the drag show also showed up before the event, holding hand-painted placards and wearing rainbow colors to show their approval of the “gay rights” movement.

The USD student newspaper, The Vista, provided the following account of the show:

Lori Watson, professor of philosophy and director of the gender studies program, began the show with a lecture that included the historical roots of the word “drag.”

“It’s important to note that men dressing as women for entertainment and performance goes back to the Ancient Greeks,” Watson said. “In the theater and performance of Greek plays, men acted in female roles — so too did men perform the female roles, dressed as women, in Shakespeare’s time.”

Seven cross-dressers were the main participants of the event. Their performances included an introduction, dancing and lip-synching to songs and answering questions. The participants included faculty members and USD students…

During the show, topics including gender-neutral bathrooms and gender-neutral housing were discussed as options to further the acceptance of transgender students.

Tootie Nefertootie, a local cross-dresser, was the master of ceremonies for the event. Her repeated quote, “It was fabulous, darling,” echoed the sentiments of the students in attendance.

Among the protesters outside the University Center was Fr. Jacob Bertrand of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Chula Vista. Fr. Bertrand told Fox5 News that the kneeling protesters were praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Rosary.

“Every person that I have dealt with who is experiencing same-sex attraction has had childhood problems,” Fr. Bertrand was quoted as saying in The Vista. “I am here because Jesus has a message of healing. I think there is a better way to healing than expressing something that is broken… Any way a culture breaks apart the bonds between a man and a woman breaks the threads of the human heart.”

Despite the controversy, sponsors of the drag show say they plan to make it an annual event on the USD campus.