High heels, inclusivity and drag queens

(Jody Waardenburg -- Lead Photographer)
(Jody Waardenburg — Lead Photographer)

The Turret Nightclub at Wilfrid Laurier University got a little more fabulous as the Rainbow Centre held their fourth annual Drag Domination on Thursday Jan. 30.
The Rainbow Centre, which can be found in the Macdonald House Residence at Room 104, offers a safe and secure atmosphere for both students and faculty members on campus to find acceptance and to explore who they are. The Centre embraces all individuals who identify as LGBTQ or as allies. The events coordinator at the Rainbow Centre, Pamela Sariyannis, explained that “[The Rainbow Centre] accepts volunteers all the time.” Inclusivity and positivity are extremely important components to this service.

As in past years, admission into Drag Domination event was free.

“We wanted it to be accessible for [all] people,” Sariyannis explained. “We had a big turnout this year which was awesome.”

However, attendees had several opportunities to make charitable donations. A booth was dedicated to donations and, afterward, all proceeds raised were then donated to the Kitchener-Waterloo’s Tri-Pride Organization.The main stage in the Turret was extended to create a catwalk while along each side of the catwalk, the volunteers had set up multiple booths. Along one wall, there were merchant booths selling a wide variety of creative objects including homemade cards and knitted articles. It was then the choice of the vendor to donate money they raised to KW’s Tri-Pride.

Along the opposing wall, volunteers from multiple organizations had organized information booths to further promote LGBTQ inclusion and general impartiality. Also in attendance were Laurier’s Association of Black Students (ABS), Waterloo’s Centre for Women and Trans-People (CWTP) as well as the tri-city region’s AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area also known as ACCKWA. Each of these resources aided in the transformation of the turret into a space promoting acceptance and personal growth.

In the introduction prior to the show’s commencement, audience members learned more about the revamp of the venue.  Notably, the washrooms were no longer relegated as gender specific areas—they became gender neutral spaces. This seemingly minor change echoed The Rainbow Centre’s diligent dedication to equality and non-discrimination.

This year, Drag Domination involved a combination of amateur entertainers. “Most of the performers were [professionals]; they have been on stage multiple times. We had two first-timers [also participate],” remarked Sariyannis.

It is important to understand that the entertainers embody hyper-masculinity and hyper-femininity. Therefore, they may not necessarily identify with the role they are performing.
Renowned drag queen in the tri-cities as well as a drag veteran with over 20 years of experience, Miss Drew, both hosted and energized the audience with an outstanding first performance to a rendition of Jennifer Lopez’s hit song “Dance Again.” It was easy to see why Miss Drew was so successful as her performance was incredibly strong and engaging.
With hair pinned high into a Mohawk-style updo, a glamorous dress revealing a lot of leg, and a very tall pair of high heel shoes, Miss Drew worked the stage. In between performances, the audience was happily subjected to the queen’s witticisms and brilliant stage banter—explaining the process of “duct-taping” was no exception.

Miss Drew discussed the aforementioned booths in detail and even engaged with the Turret bartenders who reminded on-lookers that the drink of the evening was appropriately named “Blue Domination.” Performances of the evening also included routines to Justin Bieber’s “One Time” and the theme song to the popular ‘90s television show “Sailor Moon”.
The evening was successful in terms of fundraising and crowd reception. The event raised around $300.00 Sariyannis reported.

If you were unable to make it to Drag Domination, but would still like to donate, tri-pride.ca has options to volunteer as well as contribute to the LGBTQ community of Kitchener-Waterloo. There is a Support and Love event to be held by the Rainbow Centre February 13th.

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