Gia Gunn strutted off the stage at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Saturday night. Her gold-beaded outfit sashayed from side-to-side as she danced up the aisle.
Gunn, known for being one of the first openly transgender queens to compete on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” gathered her heavy ponytail and whipped it around like a helicopter. About 300 UF students and Gainesville residents cheered her on and tipped her dollar bills.
The hour-and-45-minute long performance, “Resilience: A Drag Performance,” showcased both lo- cal and internationally known drag queens. UF Pride Awareness Month, a subgroup under UF’s Pride Student Union, hosted the event.
Gia Gunn and Ariel Versace, queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” both flew in for the performance.
The event, funded by UF Student Government, cost $22,000.
Queens lip-synced songs like “Money” by Cardi B and “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande. They showed off their beauty while mentioning the pain it takes to look “fishy,” a term used to describe very feminine looking drag queens.
“The tip of my d--- is stapled to my spinal cord,” said Faith Taylor, a Gainesville drag queen.
Samuel Stall, the show’s stage manager and a UF computer science senior, said the attendance was lower than last year’s, which was more than 500 people.
“Things like weather and popularity of the queens affected us,” the 22-year-old said. “Everything ran smoothly, but we’re going to try even better next year.”
Soju, who competed on season 11 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” was not able to perform due to flight delays from bad weather in San Francisco, Stall said. Gunn was also delayed due to weather in Dallas but was able to arrive on time.
“It was a bit chaotic,” Stall said. “Everything ended up perfect, though.”
Lauren Pozdol and her mother wore matching “Make America Gay Again” shirts for the show. They drove from Ocala to see Versace.
“Everyone is all together tonight. Gay, straight, whatever you are. Come and have a good time,” Pozdol said.
Rav, a 23-year-old UF theatre senior, and Eve Harrison, a 21-year-old UF plant science junior, are drag kings, who came to watch the performance.
Rav, who is gender-fluid and uses the singular they pronoun, is known as MX Bubbles, and Harrison is known as Lezberace while in drag.
Rav said while the art of drag is fun to let their personality shine, it also allows them to express themselves after years of being silenced.
“I grew up as the weird fat kid who felt like I couldn’t do anything. Drag has allowed me to find my voice.” Rav said. “It’s really validating to do these things to make other people happy as well as myself.”
Correction: This article was updated to reflect that last year’s drag show attendance was more than 500. The Alligator originally reported differently after an organizer provided incorrect information.