A high school homecoming football game in Vermont turned into a drag runway during halftime, featuring students and faculty appearing in makeup, wigs, suits, and dresses for a drag ball.
“Things went amazing,” Ezra Totten, student leader of the Gender Sexuality Alliance at Burlington High School, told the Associated Press. “The stands were completely packed.” Totten added, “It was just so heartwarming to see.”
Participants also included students from nearby South Burlington High School, who along with Burlington High School and Winooski High School play on the same football team. Attendees of the game were encouraged to wear bright colors, creating a stand of rainbow colors that cheered on the drag ball.
The drag show began after cheerleaders finished a routine. It featured around 30 students and teachers who dressed as drag queens and kings, who walked out chanting “Drag Ball!”
English teacher and alliance adviser Andrew LeValley came up with the idea for the show, according to the AP. “We had some people that are pretty involved in theater come in and talk about how you put on a persona,” LeValley said. For Friday night’s show, he wore a gown and wig inspired by Lady Macbeth and Marie Antoinette.
“I was just really hoping to give our students — who are both out and the students that were in the stands who are not out — a moment to shine and feel loved, and know that there is a place for them in public schools,” he explained.
Participants, lip-synching to Todrick Hall’s “Rainbow Reign,” danced around and strutted in front of the stands. Organizers of the event hope to make it an annual show. Local TV station WCAX reported the drag ball was held in response to racist and anti-LGBTQ+ slurs that were thrown at the Burlington High School volleyball team last week.
It was the school district’s Athletic Director Quaron Pinckney who suggested the show be performed at homecoming. He told the AP that the district had given him the space to uplift his own voice as a Black man, so he wanted to do the same and “uplift the voices of another marginalized group and share a space in the athletics realm that doesn’t normally get shared.”
During the football game, Burlington High School Principal Lauren McBride told the news wire she had heard a father telling his two sons what drag was. “It was like, ‘This is really cool,’” she said.
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