Walter Wendler, the president of West Texas A&M University (WTAMU), stepped in to cancel a drag show organized by the students intended to be carried out near the end of the month due to the content being labeled as highly offensive to women, stated a report from MyHighPlains.com.
The school LGBTQ student organization known as SPectrum first planned to host this drag show, which they titled “A Fool’s Drag Race,” on the 31st of march alongside “F1RSTGEN” and a number of other student groups, as stated in a post made to Instagram. Wendler chose to put a pin in the plan and kicked out the performance via a letter sent out Monday which was obtained by MyHighPlains.com in which he stated that the drag show aggressively mocks women.
“Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not,” stated Wendler, as reported by the website. “As a performance exaggerating aspects of womanhood (sexuality, femininity, gender), drag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood. Any event which diminishes an individual or group through such representation is wrong.”
The now-canceled show was first set up as a way to fundraise for a nonprofit dedicated to stopping suicide in LGBTQ youth known as The Trevor Project. Spectrum released its own statement this past Tuesday shooting down the concerns put forth by Wendler.
“Drag is not a mockery — it is a celebration. Drag is a celebration of many things; queerness, gender, acceptance, love, and especially femininity,” expressed the statement. “To call it a mockery misogynistic is to miss the entire point of what drag is, and what drag means.”
Wendler also stated that he would not stand in support of any “blackface performances” on his campus, he wrote as part of the letter. Additionally, he will not stand in support of any performance which “denigrates others.”
“Mocking or objectifying in any way members of any group based on appearance, bias or predisposition is unacceptable. Forward-thinking women and men have worked together for nearly two centuries to eliminate sexism,” he went on. “Women have fought valiantly, seeking equality in the voting booth, marketplace and court of public opinion. No one should claim a right to contribute to women’s suffering via a slapstick sideshow that erodes the worth of women.”
Wendler recommended that the students “skip the show and send the dough” as a means to support this nonprofit.