Drag queen to grace campus Tuesday

Drag queen to grace campus Tuesday

by Tia Nearmyer

Lip gloss: check. Dress: check. Eye shadow, pantyhose, wig: check, check, check.

It takes a lot of work to be a drag queen.

Michael Lehman, amateur drag queen, will be on campus Feb. 18 promoting the LGBTQA-sponsored drag show on Feb. 24.

“We want his presence there so people know him at the show,” said sophomore Justin Davis, member of LGBTQA.

Lehman, originally from Indianola, is currently attending the University of Iowa. As an English and women’s studies major, his passion is English but he is also interested in woman’s studies because he considers himself a feminist. His feminist views led to his start as a drag queen. At 19, he dressed as a French prostitute for Halloween.

“The French whore thing was because French prostitutes have a really organized labor union, and I spent the whole night discussing that with people and talking about feminist stuff,” Lehman said.

According to Lehman, that night was what spurred his interest in dressing in drag.

“It really reflects the style of drag that I’m interested in, which is more activist than traditional drag theater,” Lehman said.

Lehman enjoys giving his audiences something to think about.

“I like the compliments I get and the appreciation of the art of what I do,” Lehman said. “But really, challenging people’s preconceived notions about gender and sexuality, on stage and off, is why I do what I do.”

Lehman, known as “Vivienne La Moray” on stage, will be hosting and performing in the drag show on campus. He promises people who attend the show can expect to see traditional drag from him.

“I think that the purpose of drag in the context of Simpson College, in Indianola, Iowa, should be to provide some shock to a relatively – and this is debatable – straight, conservative audience,” Lehman said.

Dressing in drag means more to Lehman than throwing on a dress and a little makeup.

“The appearance of drag, to me, is a reflection of roles which have been thrust upon gays and lesbians for over a hundred years: effeminate, shallow men and manly, unattractive women,” Lehman said. “To do drag in some sense is to embrace and reclaim these appearances as our own, and at the same time to point out the constructed nature of male and female roles.”