By Clarissa Corral
Riverside City College students missed out on what would have been a dramatic and fun display with the cancellation of this semester’s bi-annual drag show, organized by the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club.
Formally known as the Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club, SAGA was unable to put together a drag show this semester, which was scheduled to happen Oct. 24. This is the first time in the history of the SAGA/GSA club that the drag show has been cancelled, breaking the event’s six year tradition.
“It honestly has me disappointed, never did I think that we’d have to cancel our ongoing tradition this semester. All of us are really upset and stressed,” SAGA president Gabriela Mena said.
SAGA is currently the only LGBTQ+ focused club on RCC campus, making their events and voice especially important for the representation of RCC’s LGBTQ+ students and allies.
“The cancellation of this event could be pretty upsetting since some (students) aren’t even old enough to go to a club to see the (drag) queens perform. And that is because when our drag shows happen we often get approached by those who are not ready to be out and feel safe and comfortable and inspired … in front of people doing what they love or being who they were meant to be,” Mena said. “So I’m sure for some, if not all, will hit home. ”
SAGA’s drag show cancellation was a result of insufficient funds, organization and not being recognized by the Associated Students of Riverside City College as an official club nearing the date the drag show was supposed to occur.
“ASRCC didn’t see us as an official club at the time and were unable to do our Drag Show until they said we were, “ said Mena. “But by the time we were, it was too late and the queens and such were all booked with other shows and we didn’t have enough to pay for the queens with the budget.”
Currently all fees have been paid by SAGA and they are supported by two advisers, Amanda Brown, associate professor of mathematics who has been anchoring the club for many years now and Robert Hyers, assistant professor in English. They are now officially recognized as a club again and will be able to move forward.
ASRCC does not collaborate with SAGA in throwing the drag show for students but have supported and promoted the event as well as RCC’s LGBTQ+ community and Pride related events in past semesters.
“We just help celebrate Pride. We enjoy Pride. We encourage people to attend and enjoy the drag show that SAGA puts on. We always want to promote and support it,” ASRCC President Angel Contreras said.
Although there was preparation on SAGA’s part to make the drag show happen, fees remained unpaid and ultimately interfered with the clubs ability to follow through with their plans.
“It honestly could (have) been prevented if all fees were paid on time. But one member was having issues in paying their fees so it couldn’t be helped,” Mena said. “When you’re a struggling college student trying to get by and with work sometimes you don’t always get money on time.”
Contreras reassures the drag show will return in spring 2020.
“(Students) should know that there is another (drag show) in Spring. That’s the one that really counts,” Contreras said. “The Spring drag show will go on close to Pride month. That’s where we go all out, that’s the one that really counts.”
Perhaps most disappointed are the actual drag performers themselves, who look forward to the representation and exposure the show gives both the LGBTQ+ community as well as drag culture itself.
“The experience of performing in the drag show is both daunting and fun,” RCC student Damian Ewing said. Ewing has been a regular drag show performer in past semesters.
“I think (cancelling) will definitely affect the visibility of the LGBT community on campus … this is one of the times that we get to entertain the student body and be visible,” Ewing said. “When we don’t have the show we don’t get to do that and that’s very disappointing.”
Mena said that SAGA intends to make up for this cancellation and any disappointment caused by it by making next semesters drag show bigger and better than those in the past.
“We will definitely be making a comeback next semester, our tradition will not stop nor end,” Mena said. “Look out for us till then.”