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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Divas take stage to spread love

    Gregory+Jenna+May+Lennon%26%23160%3Bperforms+during+Diva+La+Paz+at+Colonia+de+la+Paz+Residence+Hall+on+Friday.+The+event+was+a+showcase+of+numerous+song+and+dance+acts+aiming+to+raise+awareness+about+issues+facing+the+lesbian%2C+gay%2C+bisexual%2C%26%23160%3Btransgender+and+questioning+community.
    Cecilia Lisset Alvarez

    Gregory “Jenna May” Lennon performs during Diva La Paz at Colonia de la Paz Residence Hall on Friday. The event was a showcase of numerous song and dance acts aiming to raise awareness about issues facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community.

    The Sol Courtyard in Colonia de la Paz Residence Hall was transformed into an extravagant stage for the 19th annual Diva La Paz on Friday night. Put on by the residence hall staff and hall council of Colonia de la Paz, in conjunction with elMundo, this free event was aimed to raise awareness for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community on campus.

    Known as the Black Cat of Tucson, Ajia Simone returned to host this year’s show. Joining Simone were seven other “female illusionists” from the Tucson community. In an interview with Tucson Weekly, Simone said he prefers the term “female illusionist” as opposed to drag queen, as he considers the latter term to imply an ugly man in heels. It is these type of taboo topics Diva La Paz tried to tackle throughout the night.

    Before the show began, Michael Palacioz, graduate community director of Colonia de la Paz, said that participants were encouraged to take a walk through the Pride Room. The room held information about the LGBTQ community, and also had tables discussing resources and events being held at the UA for students to check out.

    “We will also have a table where students can sign up for Safe Zone training that is put on through LGBTQ Affairs here on campus,” Palacioz said.

    According to the LGBTQ Affairs official website, Safe Zone training is a way of making others more aware and accepting of the individuals who come to the university, regardless of sexual orientation.

    After browsing through the Pride Room, audience members took their seats and waited for the opening acts to come out at 7 p.m. The openers consisted of dance groups and singers, and they occupied the stage until 8 p.m., which is when Simone made a grand entrance onto the stage to officially begin the show.

    Simone began the night with a few anecdotes regarding his time as a female illusionist, and gave a quick overview of the history of Diva La Paz. After finishing his opening monologue, Simone proceeded to start off the show with a performance, which included lip syncing, dancing and interacting with several members of the audience.

    The night continued like this as six other performers took the stage. Each captivated the audience, as throughout each number, attendees were laughing, recording videos, taking pictures or cheering for them. About halfway through the night, Simone came back up onto the stage dressed in church attire and gave a sermon talking about how everyone should love everybody, regardless of their gender, color, sexual orientation or anything else.

    At the end, all of the performers came back out onto the stage to answer any questions audience members had for them. Overall, Palacioz estimated the audience was anywhere between 350-450 people, and most stayed to watch the entire show.

    “The show was much different from what I expected,” audience member Kyle Douglass said after the show’s conclusion. “I have never been to a drag show, and I thought it was going to be more serious than it really was. It was actually quite hilarious at most times.”

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    Follow Chelsea Cook on Twitter.

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