With such multiplicity in the gender-sphere, even within the LGBTQ community gender identity and expression are still often misunderstood. In fact, 90% of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of stereotypes perpetuated through their gender expression (GLSEN. (2001). Research also suggests that homophobia and heterosexism greatly contribute to higher rates of suicide, violence victimization, risk behavior for HIV infection, and substance abuse among LGBTQ youth as compared to their heterosexual peers. For these reasons and more, it is important to provide programs to help LGBTQ youth gain the skills and support they need to develop into healthy well-adjusted adults in a society that largely rejects them.
Drag It Out is highly sought after by LGBTQ community-based organizations, Universities and youth to conduct their “Art of Drag” workshops. While our workshops are open to all individuals we have served thus far over 99% women, gender queer and transgender individuals. We offer workshops that delve into both “masculine” persona (King) and “feminine” persona (Queen). To date we have “draguated” almost 100 participants through our workshops and have engaged through community involvement and volunteering over 200. Thousands have seen our inspirational shows and the amount of people reached through our performances, website and social media is increasing steadily.
Our intensive workshops span a total of 8 weeks and aspire to create, prepare, and set-free fully self-expressed individuals. It is Drag It Out’s goal to create a safe space for people to learn about gender identity, self-expression, build relationships, and community support through the “Art of Drag”. Workshops take place in a classroom style environment and focus on gender education and self-expression. Participants benefit from increased self-awareness, empowerment and a sense of accomplishment after having developed an “alter ego” with prevailing characteristics they are able to assimilate into their day-to-day lives.
For biological women, one of Drag it OUT’s more empowering offerings is the bio queen or faux queen workshop. A bio queen is a female performance artist who adopts the same exaggerated style and behavior as a male drag queen. The workshop is conducted by professional drag queens and is intended to raise women’s confidence and self expression by unleashing their “inner queen”. Women who participate in the bio queen workshops literally come out roaring with confidence. Running parallel to the bio queen workshop is our signature King workshop. This workshop encourages women to fully embrace their masculine identity. The King workshop encourages women to step strongly into a male role of their creation. It’s not just facial hair, “binding” and “packing” that makes these workshops memorable, it’s the group dynamics, friendships, vision and creativity that keeps the workshops full time after time.
The workshop curriculum includes education on topics including but not limited to: body language, facial expression, choreography, apparel, cosmetics, etiquette, grace and performance attitude. Post-workshop, “Draguates” are invited to participate in the final performance and are invited to a social event where they are presented with awards recognizing their individual achievements. Drag it OUT does not stop there! The bio queens and kings are kept in mind for other activities, stipend performance opportunities, panel speaking and special events that showcase their unique talents.
Programs and Services:
TALKS: Social media engagement program, inspired by the number of messaged questions, phone calls and emails regarding the need for understanding in the various differences within the GLBT+ community. How this will be done, is when people send in a question, all persons left anonymous, we will bring 2 people to answer it via video blog and post it to our website and social media. A few questions that have been sent in are:
- My very good friend is transgendered and I just dont get why she can’t be happy with herself, is there anything I can do?
- I have identified as the B in the LGBT since I can remember, and for some reason still get crap for it in social settings, people have said “oh you’re bisexual cause you can’t make up your mind, pick a sex already” how can I respond without losing power?
- I am a pretty shy person in my nature, and I feel like it holds me back, a friend of mine told me about your organization, can you reverse shyness?
EDUCATE: This program is groomed for student life at universities, appr. 15-30 people at a time and has a comprehensive look at the His & Herstory of Drag, ice-breakers, interactive learning, and on the spot performances! Taking you on a magical journey of glitter and facial hair and what impacts that has had on our social views today.