Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana drag show celebrates Night of Noise

Linh Tran
Drag performer Miss Jade chooses a leopard print bodysuit and color-changing futuristic glasses for the show.

After observing a national Day of Silence, Augustana’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) partnered with the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity (OSID) to host their annual “Night of Noise” drag show.

On April 19, performers strutted through rows of students in Lindberg. 

Dancing in dramatic eye looks, sparkling leotards and tailored dresses, the night included a line up of five drag queens from Iowa and student performer Billy Adams.

Sofia Garza, vice president of GSA, said that the club spends most of the school year tracking down local performers and preparing for the drag show, their biggest and most anticipated event of the year.  

“It takes a lot of prep and planning from our community. It also keeps us engaged in the local community. Finding local drag performers and startup performers is very key in making sure we stay connected,” Garza said. 

Since 1996, the second Friday of April has marked the Day of Silence in schools and college campuses as a way to reflect, remember and spread awareness on LGBTQ+ students who have been silenced. 

Before beginning the celebrations and announcing the performers to the runway, a moment of silence was held in remembrance of First-Year student Casey Leichsenring who was a member of GSA. Students in GSA remember Leichsenring as an avid member of the group.

“Casey was somebody who was very important to our club and very important to our community,” Garza said. “We wanted to make sure that we were saying her name and saying that she was a member of our community.”

After silencing the room, GSA officially kicked off the Night of Noise, marking the end of the Day of Silence with community and celebration.

Although the daytime is reserved for reflection, GSA President Leyla Velazquez said that celebrating the Night of Noise is just as important.

Velazquez said that during weekly GSA meetings, it is hard to ignore hatred or anti-LGBTQ legislation in the media. With events centered on fun and entertainment, she hopes to create more positive representation on campus for the community.

“It’s really important for our community to take up space in a positive way, and I think this event is a really happy time for all of us because it can be scary at times,” Velazquez said. “Here, you can be with people that have similar experiences. Events like this make it really okay and prideful to be in this community.”

Junior Mary Sabo said that while attending these annual drag shows and supporting her friend in performing, she has seen the campus come together over identities that are often overlooked. Sabo said these spaces encourage expression.

“I think it’s extremely helpful for our community,” Sabo said. “It’s really amazing to me that I can go to a college where we have clubs like GSA that put on these kinds of events because I wouldn’t necessarily have access to these kinds of opportunities at different schools. I think that Augustana’s community is very special.”


Billy Adams currently works for the Observer.

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