Texas college president compares drag show to blackface

Canyon, Texas –

On Wednesday, at a university in the Panhandle, Texas, after the school president expressed his view that the planned campus drag show would not be allowed and that such events were “discriminatory against women.” , protests continued.

At West Texas A&M University in Canyon, just south of Amarillo, dozens of students gathered for the second day of protest. Students are waving gay pride flags and holding signs with words like “Drag for Women,” “Drag is Lad,” and “Everybody Say Love.”

of Tuesday’s opinion column full of religious references, the university’s president, Walter Wendler, wrote that “whatever the intent, drag shows are derisive, divisive, and demoralizing misogyny.” He also wrote, “Drag shows women in cartoonish extreme stereotypes to entertain others.”

Drag shows across the country have been targeted by right-wing activists and politicians in recent months, with Republican lawmakers in several states, including Texas, proposing to limit the shows. Protesters also flocked to events such as the Drag Story Hour, where drag queens read to children.

WT Spectrum, a student organization for LGBTQIA students and advocates, participated in the March 31 drag show as a way to raise money for the Trevor Project, a group working to prevent suicide among LGBTQ2S+ youth. was looking for someone.

In an Instagram post, WT Spectrum wrote that drag was not designed to be aggressive, and that it celebrates many things including “queerness, gender, acceptance, love, and especially femininity.” The group called on Wendler to resume the show, apologize, and resign from his post.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, the group said they hoped to hold the show on March 31, but were not yet sure where it would be held. Stated.

Students supporting the show included Signe Elder, who called drugs “an expression of self and pleasure.” She told her KFDA television station:

Other students said they agreed with Wendler’s stance. Alejandro Rivera told the KAMR television station that as a Christian he doesn’t hate anyone, but he believes “our society would almost become degenerate” if the show was allowed.

Rachel Hill, director of government affairs at Equality Texas, said: That’s what makes the drag so powerful. ”

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) wrote in a letter to Wendler, “Drag shows, like other forms of theater, are expressive acts that are protected from government censorship.” increase.

In his column, Wendler compared drag shows to blackface performers and said he did not endorse performances by blackface performers either. The history of blackface dates back to his 1800s, when white men blackened their faces to create caricatures of black people.

Wendler said he recommends supporting Trevor, saying, “Even if the laws of the country appear to require it, for whatever reason, the disrespectful gesture towards another group should be sacrificed.” It does not appear to tolerate the demeaning of any group,” he wrote.

University spokeswoman Kelly Carper Polden said Wednesday she could not comment “due to pending lawsuits.”

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