For Pitt law group, Halloween is a ‘drag’

By Marissa Meredyth

Women, men and women dressed as men and men dressed as women slipped on their high heels to… Women, men and women dressed as men and men dressed as women slipped on their high heels to attend Pitt OUTLaw’s Halloween Party and Drag Show.

OUTLaw, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer legal advocacy group affiliated with Pitt Law, hosted the event, which was held in its moot court room in the basement of the Barco Law Library last night.

Andre Miguel, president of OUTLaw, said the event was mostly for fundraising.

“We hope to raise money for our advocacy initiatives this year, since we have essentially no budget,” Miguel said.

After the former president of the group transferred two years ago, Miguel said, the group basically went defunct when no one stepped up to fill the position. Since then, Miguel has been trying to reestablish the group on campus.

“Another big element in our motivation is establishing ourselves as a voice in the community by creating an event that people will look forward to every year. It will also give future leaders something to work towards,” he said.

Miguel said they hope making their group more familiar to the campus will help people to become more accepting of GLBTQ issues. He said in Pittsburgh, people still feel very uncomfortable with differing ideas of sexuality.

Miguel said they chose to throw a drag show in part for this reason, but also because drag holds a historical significance in the GLBTQ community.

“The Stonewall riots were a first major step for equal rights. ‘Trannys’ and men dressed in drag rioted int he streets to protest police brutality in gay bars,” Miguel said. “It was the first big shock to the outside culture, saying that despite people’s rejections, we still deserve some sort of rights. It’s because of them that we are here today.”

Veronica Bleaus, also known as Pitt alumnus John Musser, said drag isn’t just political.

“The presence of drag has always been a very visible part of the gay community in a political sense, but it’s also just fun. It’s purely aesthetic in pleasure, not sexual. We like the glamour, sparkle and performance aspect. Being able to titillate the audience with spectacle. It’s pure entertainment,” she said.

Bleaus said it can be important for identity, as well, as just part of a culture.

“For some, drag is a stepping stone to transition into a transgender identity, but for many, it is just a unique cultural phenomenon in the gay community,” she said.

In a long blonde wig, Bleaus began the show with pom-poms, high kicks and splits — all on top of a table in front of where a judge would sit in the courtroom. Front row to the show, professors watched in cardigans and button-down shirts. Bleaus’ partner in crime draped a toned leg off the bar, fully appearing later in a tight black unitard.

After the shower opener, Bleaus handpicked the judges for the amateur and professional drag show acts. After she finished, Superwoman, a “reverse cowgirl,” a sailor, a priest and a doppelganger of Kate Gosselin from the television show Jon & Kate Plus 8 replaced a would-be jury.

After Bleaus performed, geology graduate students began the first act in true Bollywood style. Surrounded by women dressed as men, a man dressed as a scantily-clad woman in traditional clothing shimmied and moved his hips in a way that would give Shakira a run for her money. One lucky audience member got a lap dance.

On campus, some murmurs have begun to circulate that holding the event in the moot courtroom was disrespectful.

“We are unsure who or what we are disrespecting by having a drag show in a fake courtroom,” Miguel said.

He said the law school’s administration and faculty have been very supportive. Faculty members attended, and administrators helped make signs and tickets for the event.

OUTLaw’s agenda includes helping to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy and the passing of Pennsylvania House Bill 300, which would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and public accomodations.