Rainbow Alliance Hosted Drag Queen Bingo

PennWest California’s Rainbow Alliance held a drag queen bingo event during Student Appreciation Week.


Kaelin Rebholz

Calipso performing

Makayla McNett, Staff Writer

PennWest California’s Rainbow Alliance hosted a drag show bingo on Thur. April 6, 2023 in the Natali Performance Center. The show was a part of the many activities held for students during Student Appreciation Week (SAW). The Rainbow Alliance hosted a similar event in October of 2022, and both were very successful. 

Drag performance has a rich and extensive history, with different inspirations coming from theater, vaudeville, and burlesque. Expression through drag has been an important part of LGBTQ+ culture and activism, as it celebrates diversity and individuality. It has provided a safe place for self expression and challenging traditional gender norms. More recently, drag has gained mainstream popularity through shows such as “Rupaul’s Drag Race,” successfully bringing drag to a much wider audience. 

During the drag show on campus, there were multiple performers including the host, Calipso (@itscalipsoo), Scarlet Faiweather (@scarletfweather), Alejandra J-love (@alejandrajlove), Indi Skies (@theonlyindiskies), and Luna Skye (@lunaskyepgh). Readers can connect with these performers and keep up with their latest work on their Instagrams, which are included. 

Many performers, and fans of drag, are drawn in by the sense of welcoming that comes from the community. 

“I used to go every weekend to the local drag shows back in 2018, here in Pittsburgh, and I always would leave so inspired and wanting to do it myself,” said Calipso. “My heart gets so full whenever someone tells me that watching me perform made their day in some type of way. I’ve had people tell me that they were going through a hard time and coming to the shows to see me perform was kind of like their therapy. And I know it’s true because drag helped me go through a very hard moment in my life as well before I even started doing it, that’s always going to be my favorite part of performing.”

Creating an identity through drag allows individuals to express themselves creatively while experimenting with different aspects of their personality and appearance. For those who may feel constrained by societal norms or expectations, this can be a liberating and empowering experience. 

“Scarlet is known as a soccer mom, quick with a pun and a witty banter,” said Scarlet Fairweather, describing their drag identity. “She’s silly but grounded, and tries to be a supportive friend and teacher. She’s also become a loud and proud activist, trying to use her platform to help.”

The drag community still faces many challenges in today’s society including discrimination, lack of representation, and marginalization. Many performers face harassment and discrimination in their daily lives, and the community continues to fight for greater visibility and more recognition in society. 

“Right now, everyone in the drag and trans community is being targeted, we’re facing these challenges and law bans against drag so the louder we can be, the more present we can be, we just have to believe that we can win this,” says Calipso. “They want to erase us and we won’t let it happen. That’s what we can do to overcome it, just keep being ourselves, keep being visible, having the support of every single person that calls themselves an ally of the community and show the world that drag is not a crime!”

With a growing movement for greater inclusivity and representation in the entertainment industry, hopefully there will be more opportunities for drag performers, but there is still a long way to go in terms of achieving full acceptance and equality for the community. 

“The future of drag is bright and inclusive. The younger generations have such a keen eye for equity that even despite the legislative hurdles we are facing politically, I know that we will pull through stronger than ever,” said Scarlet Fairweather. ”Drag is becoming more representative, more unique, and more fun every day and being here just to see it grow has been a blessing.”

The Rainbow Alliance at PennWest California works hard to spread important information and awareness around campus. The organization holds many events, like Drag Bingo, to help create a welcoming and diverse campus environment. Be sure to connect with them @calrainbowalliance to keep up to date with their current events.