New club fills gap in LGBTQ groups on campus

It has high heels, costumes and long-haired wigs. What is it? It’s UAA’s new Drag+ club. Founder and self-proclaimed drag queen Robin O’Donoghue said Drag+ seeks to fill a void in LGBTQ clubs offered at UAA.

Jane Mastre, administrative assistant for Student Clubs and Greek Life, said there is only one other UAA LGBTQ-related club, and they haven’t been active on campus in the last year.

“I haven’t seen them do anything lately, so I don’t know what’s going on there,” Mastre said. “I think it’s great that people are doing this, but those are the only two that we have that usually [do] stuff.”

O’Donoghue said the lack of LGBTQ-focused clubs was one of his primary motivations for starting Drag+.

“The primary motivation, like I said, was kind of the lack of LGBTQ visibility and representation on campus,” O’Donoghue said. “I don’t think that’s because there aren’t queer people and people who would be interested in this kind of thing, not excluding non-queer people of course. I just think it’s because it’s not something that exists right now. I really am excited to see where this group can go.”

O’Donoghue wants Drag+ to be a fun way of interacting with the LGBTQ art forms.

“We are starting Drag+ which is going to be a club on campus focused on drag and the queer performance art, sharing queer history through performance and events, hopefully just creating this really fun group that is going to be able to involve the campus and the community in what we are about,” O’Donoghue said.

Drag+ is still in its final stages of becoming a club, but once it becomes an official UAA club, O’Donoghue said there are several events he hopes to host in the future.

“In terms of goals, definitely goal number one was starting the group and we’ve pretty much achieved that … Other goals I think would be: want to host several events this school year, hopefully, several successful events. We are planning on partnering with Generation Action for a couple of things in the future,” O’Donoghue said. “One that we’ve been discussing is like, different Halloween events, as well as, we want to work with them on some sort of event to raise awareness and protest the Proposition One issue that’s going on here in Anchorage with the discrimination of transgender people. “

O’Donoghue said there are almost 20 people in the club. One of the founding members is Treasurer Teresa Wrobel.

“I’m joining because I was introduced to drag culture and all those other aspects by my friend Robin, the president of the club, and I felt that it was important,” Wrobel said. “It’s not just for if you’re identifying [as a] queer person, really anyone can join. I identify as straight, but I definitely find merit and entertainment out of the drag culture, so I felt that it was important to be like, not one of those outlying members, but not what you’d exactly stereotype.”

O’Donoghue encourages anyone of any gender identity to join the club and watch for events Drag+ hosts over the semester.

Photo credit: Jian Bautista