Pride Alliance Drag Show returns to the Iowa State campus


Courtesy of Victoria Reyna-Rodriguez, Pride Alliance

Sharaya Diamond performs her routine at the Pride Alliance Spring Drag Show. 

Iowa State’s Pride Alliance and Student Union Board hosted a Drag Show that sparked responses from College Republicans United and subsequently Student Body President, Jacob Ludwig. 

After a two-year pause due to COVID-19, the Pride Alliance annual Drag Show returned to the Maintenance Shop on Friday. The highly anticipated pride event resulted in a sold-out show.

Hours before the Spring Drag Show opened its doors; the Iowa State College Republicans United chapter released a public letter on Twitter condemning the event.

“We acknowledge The Pride Alliance’s and other organization members’ freedom of speech and expression, but we do not believe that vulgar expression to this degree should be permitted on campus, as this expression is alienating to a large portion of the student body (Christians, conservatives and others) and such alienation is contradictory to the inclusive goals officially put forth by Iowa State University,” the organization’s public letter stated.

The show continued as planned and the performance brought in a large crowd of both students and community members. 

The Drag Show featured five performers who took center stage and executed high-energy dance routines. Each performer created an overwhelming response of excitement and support from members of the audience.

“Performing on a college campus is huge to me because I feel like that’s where you’re really finding your own and getting in your own groove of things,” Jade Knight, one of the performers, said.

Knight enjoys performing for the youth because it gives them a sense of belonging. She believes there is a place for everybody in drag.

“It’s an art form,” nicci port, an adviser for Pride Alliance, said. “I mean, the work that the performers do around costuming, makeup, performance and creating a character. There’s a lot of work that goes into drag.”

Having worked at Iowa State for 20 years, port said this show, in particular, is special.

When asked about her inspiration for joining the drag community, Sharaya Diamond, one of the performers, explained how she never saw performers on stage that resembled her skin tone.

“I want to break that barrier,” Diamond said. “I like to see some melanin realness on there to share the stage.”

Other featured performers were Lonika LaBelle Knight, Romeo Sanchez and Carrion Von Corpse. Iowa State Hip Hop club, Dub H, performed dance routines during the intermission.

The letter caused responses from students and the community alike on Twitter and other social media. Jacob Ludwig, the recently elected student body president, penned his own public letter in response to the student body and the College Republicans United.

“Cyclones know that our diversity of identity, culture and thought are a major part of what makes this campus so wonderful,” Ludwig wrote on Twitter. “We are committed to supporting that diversity in whatever manner is available.”

Pride Alliance representatives mentioned the controversy at the event and instructed the audience and performers to continue to be kind and supportive to one another.