Not a Drag: YSUnity’s Annual Drag Shows Looks to Unite Youngstown

By Marah J. Morrison

Kai Parker, three-year member of YSUnity, said events like the annual Drag Show the group holds help bring the community together.

This year’s show will be hosted by Mya Garrison and will feature local performers alongside Joslyn Fox from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Six.

Parker, the current vice president of YSUnity, said this drag show helps the audience members and the community to relate to the performers.

The vice president said this event will be eye opening and informative for the audience as they step into a world they might not have been exposed to before.

“My role in YSUnity has given me more confidence when it comes to taking on leadership roles,” Parker said. “It also has provided me with an opportunity to network and become more familiar with the community both on campus and off campus.”

Academic advisor for the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services and co-advisor to YSUnity: SOGIE Society, Brian Wells, said YSUnity’s drag shows started while he was an undergrad, between 1997 and 2001.

“The students in the organization were looking for a way to change the face of campus with regard to the acceptance of the LGBT community, but we wanted to do it in a way that would be fun and entertaining,” Wells said.

Wells, a former YSUnity president, said the show typically includes music, dancing and a question and answer session.

“The show also provides students the opportunity to learn about LGBT culture in a collegiate environment from real people,” Wells said.

Snjezana Balaz, assistant professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department and co-advisor to YSUnity: SOGIE Society, said the local and professional performers included in this show serve as role models.

“You kind of find yourself and you can be like ‘Oh okay, I’m not that different because I see somebody who is like me,’” Balaz said.

Chelsea Mishko, a communications major with focus in social media and sociology minor, is the current president of YSUnity. Mishko said YSUnity wants to create a safe space for LGBT + students and faculty.

“There is no LGBT + Resource Center offered at our campus,” Mishko said. “This is why YSUnity does events, information tables and open discussions.”

Mishko said she wants the drag performers to have as much of an amazing time as the audience will. Mishko also said she hopes this year’s show will create an appreciation for what the drag queens and kings do.

“I hope this benefits them in the sense that they are bringing a unique art-form to our campus,” Mishko said. “And that people will leave the show with a better understanding of what they do.”

YSUnity’s annual Drag Show will be on April 13 in the Chestnut Room. Doors for the show open at 6:30 p.m. and performances begin at 7:00 p.m.

With valid proof of a YSU ID, students and faculty are admitted to the show for free. The general public admission for the show is $5.00.