Drag show brings Simpson’s true colors out of the closet

by Mark Pleiss

Among the bright flashing lights, tights and transvestites, I kept thinking the same question:

What type of student body do we have here at Simpson?

Mike Lehman, the cross-dressed emcee originally from Indianola who headed the drag show, said prior to the show that its purpose was to “provide some shock to a relatively straight, conservative audience.”

But even he knew the community wasn’t completely conservative.

He also acknowledged there are parts of the Simpson community that defy the conservative title. This was immediately apparent to me as a packed BSC erupted in applause as a man in the crowd rushed to the stage to put money into the elastic band of a scantily dressed drag queen.

But we must also remember that a packed student center isn’t the same as a packed auditorium. There was certainly truth in what Lehman said about our small community and its Methodist college being conservative.

This mix of both sentiments always causes problems, and this is especially true when it comes to public opinion.

The strange mix of both conservative and liberal sentiments always causes me trouble because I’ll never write a column without pondering its consequences.

If I want to write, for example, a piece for or against gay rights, I would need to prepare myself for the repercussions. I believe writing for the Simpson crowd is difficult because I can never predict its reactions.

A story written about a drag queen coming to town doesn’t warrant a second glance, while a crack about farting in bed will get the community to break out the tar, feathers and torches.

I personally came from a high school where there were more openly gay students than there were racial minorities. It became apparent to me that a homosexual wasn’t all that different from a heterosexual pretty quickly.

It never really bothered me.

But I also came to realize there are groups who are uncomfortable around homosexuals, which I don’t believe is a big deal either; it really is natural looking at society.

But what I think we should detest is when that dislike turns to hate, which is completely unacceptable, especially at a liberal arts college.

It’s with this in mind that I congratulate our student body. LGBTQA put on the drag show without dealing with any direct, hate-induced opposition. Those who didn’t feel comfortable about homosexuality didn’t attend, and those who were comfortable did. I think the rest of our country could learn a lot from that.

So as I sat there watching a drag queen spoke a few words to a group of screaming, affirming Simpson students, I began to realize our community really is something to appreciate.

Thank God we can bring a drag show to campus without a riot. We’re representing various forms of ideas, not limiting ourselves to any clich����s or stereotypes.

We’ve developed a good blue-red swirl on the Simpson map.