Bringing down negative stigmas

Drag show supports mental health awareness


Courtesy Valentino Zullo

Natasha Gibson is one of the drag performers at tonight’s “Stigma is a Drag” event.

Allison Duchin, Staff Reporter

Stigma: it affects everyone, it alters how others can view you and, even worse, how you can view yourself.

Today, Nov. 14 at 9 p.m., there will be a combination drag show and public awareness event regarding mental illness, titled Stigma is a Drag at the Jolly Scholar.

This event is focused on bringing awareness to mental illness and will feature various drag queen performances.

This year’s second annual Stigma is a Drag is organized by multiple student body groups including Qgrad, the LGBTQIA graduate community as well as Student Leaders Advocating for Mental Health (SLAM). Through their partnerships, they have also secured a speaker from the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI).

The partnership between these two student organizations comes from one of their shared leader, Valentino Zullo. Zullo, a second-year graduate student, was president of SLAM last year and is currently the Education Committee Chair of QGrad.

The two topics of mental health issues and drag work well together because they parallel each other in many ways. Even in modern discussion, both issues are still often avoided in conversation and awareness. While drag may be entertaining and funny during the show, many performers have spoken out about facing the same struggle that can come with mental illness: acceptance.

However, acceptance is a universal desire, so how are people in drag culture and those suffering from mental illness any different than the larger community surrounding them? How are they causing discrepancies in the “normalcy” that many societies crave?

Simply put, they are not. By combining both mental illness issues with a drag show performance, Zullo as well as the members of Qgrad and SLAM have not only blurred the line of what is “normal,” but broadened it as well.

The speaker form NAMI will present on the issues of mental health and illness issues on college campuses. While mental illness and LGBT rights are sources of pride on Case Western Reserve’s campus, Stigma is a Drag attempts to remind students and CWRU community of ongoing issues.

For more information regarding stigmas and mental health awareness go to Thwing this Friday for “Stigma is a Drag.”

Event: Stigma is a Drag
Location: Jolly Scholar
Date: Nov. 14, 9 p.m.
Tickets: $5 (door)