When you see your lesbian sociology professor touch a naked drag queen’s penis, you know it’s going to be a good day.
When I first came to this school, I was under the impression that many of the students here were pretty closed-minded. So I was nervous for the drag queens of the 801 Cabaret in Key West, Fla. when I heard they would be doing a special performance for the 800 or so Sociology 1 students in Campbell Hall on May 13. My assumption was wrong.
Throughout the quarter, our professor Verta Taylor has covered issues such as homosexuality and gender identity in lecture with mixed responses from the students. But when she courageously shared with us on Tuesday that she herself is a lesbian, the class seemed shocked, but supportive.
She seemed a little nervous, and rightly so. It can’t be easy to come out to a group of young college students and share with them that you are living a lifestyle that is unfortunately still not completely socially accepted. She did so to warn us.
Taylor and Leila Rupp – her partner of over 20 years – wrote the book “Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret,” and throughout the process became very close to the head queen of the troupe. Sushi, as she is called, lovingly refers to the duo as “Lesbo #1” and “Lesbo #2,” and without Tuesday’s warning, we all would have been caught off guard.
The ladies put on an incredible show filled with entertainment as well as subtle political messages. The packed crowd ate it up. From the moment the three queens came on the stage doing their rendition of En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind,” guys and girls alike were waving dollar bills in the air.
All three “women” were fantastic, but it was Kylie Jean Lucille who stole the show. After one of her acts, she began to announce someone else when one of the guys near the front yelled, “But we love you!” Kylie replied simply, “Oh honey, you’ll get to see all of me later.” And she stuck to her word.
Here at UCSB, we are used to seeing tan, buff men and gorgeous blondes walking around campus. This time, we got both in one. It takes balls – pun definitely intended – to bare it all in front of a group of 18- to 22-year-olds. I expected some people to walk out. No one did. In fact, Miss Lucille only received more dollar bills to add to the collection, along with a standing ovation.
I just want to thank the drag queens for coming all the way from Key West and opening our hearts and minds. They are an inspiration to all to be confident in who you are, no matter how long your clit is or how low your ovaries hang – that’s straight from drag queen Gugi Gomez.
I also want to thank Verta Taylor for believing we could handle such an event. I myself am thankful that my stereotypical impression of the students here has been challenged. And to the girls at the 801 Cabaret, you made my day.
Karen Sikola is a sophomore communication major.