A Catholic College’s Drag Show Problem


The University of San Diego planned to hold a drag show this week a part of a series of events planned by student to “foster understanding of gender non-conformity.” Some alumni of the Catholic institution, however, are quite unhappy about the event.

Alumnus Charles LiMandri, formerly of USD alumni board, writes that:

I am writing to bring to your attention a dire concern that I have about our alma mater. On April 11, 2012, USD is planning to have its “First Drag Show” in the University Center. The published description about this so-called “monumental event” is as follows:

“PRIDE is hosting USD’s first ever drag show. Watch and cheer on students as they compete against each other in pageant-style to be USD’s first Supreme Drag Superstar. There will be a lip-sync competition, runway competition, and of course a Q & A session. Local San Diego drag queen Tootie Nefertootie will be MC-ing with a special guest performer.”

This is Nefertootie’s website, in case you’re interested. LiMandri:

I am seeking your support in protesting this event to protect potentially vulnerable students, and because I have a son who is a freshman at USD, and a daughter who is considering attending USD next year upon graduating from Cathedral Catholic High School.

He’s careful to protest that he’s not, you know, a bigot.

I was on the USD Alumni Board between 1985 and 1995 when we helped usher in the diversity and multi-cultural programs. We were happy to do so because we wanted USD to… provide an equal opportunity for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. We were not, however, seeking the promotion of values that are directly contrary to our Catholic faith and traditions.

Really? Traditions I’m a little unclear on, but I’m pretty sure the Catholic Church has no position whatsoever on drag shows.

USD president Mary Lyons said that the drag show, which is “being held in conjunction with a series of educational lectures, discussions, and workshops designed to bring awareness and understanding about… issues surrounding gender identity and gender expression” will go ahead as planned. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer