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OPINION | The Queen: Exposure to Intersectional Issues for the Girls

Queertober at UIS got off to a dazzling start with “Diva Night.” This event, held on Saturday, Oct. 1, was an opportunity for queer students and allies to dress in outstanding outfits and engage with one another as a supportive community.

There were many activities at the event, including a trivia game where participants guessed the names of various drag queens for extra raffle tickets. Luckily, participants got raffle tickets regardless of whether our answers were correct.

After this, there was a showing of The Queen, a documentary about a drag competition. Within this documentary, icon and Black drag queen Crystal LaBeija tore into white drag queen Harlowe for winning the competition—which LaBeija felt was a grossly undeserved accomplishment.

The event in the film conveys a seemingly genial depiction of mostly white drag queens in a community with one another, enjoying preparations for the final event. Drag queens of color are only briefly looked at, as the camera favors Harlowe, a thin, blonde, blue-eyed drag queen who had never lost a competition before. This fact is symbolic of the issue most viewers spent the night discussing: intersectionality within queer communities.

It is clear that Harlowe wins competitions so easily because she fits Eurocentric beauty standards to a “T”: she is thin, traditionally effeminate, and white. Therefore, as LaBeija explains, “all the true beauties didn’t come,” to avoid being bested by yet another white queen despite their unique beauty. The rest of the read—arguably the read of the century—can be viewed at the link below:

Events like these are essential to communal growth because they stimulate important conversations on the issues that queer communities face, especially when they highlight the importance of understanding the significance of intersectionality. Queertober at UIS strives to continue creating safe spaces for these conversations, with many excellent opportunities for attendees to deepen your understanding of others’ experiences.

To watch “The Queen” and have your own intersectional conversations, rent it at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGmB92yOcG8 or attend many of the other Queertober events happening at UIS this October.

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