Acceptance and understanding can be tough to find at any age. The TCU Gay Straight Alliance embraced this concern at the third annual Drag Show Fundraiser benefiting Youth First Texas, a safe-haven for gay youth.
Senior English major and emcee of the event, Emily Zumstein said this event is a fun way to encourage people to give a little and support the idea that LGBT youth are not alone.
“Every person, especially a child, needs a safe place they can feel accepted and wanted, and that’s what Youth First Texas gives and that’s a really awesome thing,” Zumstein said.
Sophomore political science major Maddey Nelson came to the event last year and said she believes GSA is a great organization for TCU.
“Being our age and being in college and being gay, straight or whatever – it’s hard to find people who are either going to be accepting of it or who are exactly like that,” Nelson said. “It gives them a great way to find other people like that.”
GSA President Aaron Hampton said accepting himself and being accepted among his peers was mostly positive growing up, but he found common ground and comfort with his peers in GSA.
“It was mostly just a group I could enjoy, but once I started being a part of this community at TCU, I became more aware of the issues involving the LGBT community,” Hampton said.
A mother and son from Cleburne were also in attendance to show their support at the event. Dana Galloway said it took her son a long time to be comfortable with his sexuality and who he was as an individual. Galloway’s son, Austin Swearingen, found acceptance when he became involved in his high school theater.
“He met a lot of different kids and they were all very different in their own way, and not necessarily that they were gay,” Galloway said. “And I think through that he began to accept who he was and to kind of learn that ‘it’s okay to be whoever I am, but I have to be okay with it before the world can be okay with it.’”
Swearingen said he was able to channel his theater experience onto the drag show stage. When acting a performer is asked to play different roles, which can include different genders like Mulan or Mrs. Doubtfire he said.
“It’s pretty much the same thing to me. It’s not really drag. It’s just a performance,” Swearingen said.
Zumstein said she admires the courage and hard work many of the performers exuded.
“We got all our drag queens and our drag kings that are willing to, you know, to cross-dress in front of people that they don’t even know, and lip-sync to silly songs and just have a good time,” Zumstein said. “Just to help a good cause.”