FORT WORTH—While public schools and universities across the state come under fire for promoting radical gender ideologies, Texas Christian University (TCU) will host a drag show “celebrating” Hispanic Heritage Month later this week.

Although the private university is associated with the Protestant Disciples of Christ, TCU’s Intercultural Center is sponsoring a drag show, featuring men cross-dressing as women and lip-synching to popular songs.

Drag queen Deja Dubois will host the October 20 show entitled “Buenas, A Selena Loteria Drag Show,” which also includes drag queens Krystal Cartier, who claims to use “he/him/they” pronouns, and Shalula Davenport.

TCU’s Student Identity and Engagement Department, which focuses on “diversity, inclusiveness, and cultural awareness,” is sponsoring the event. In addition to drag shows, the department hosts “diversity trainings” rooted in radical gender and racial ideologies, including a program where students can attend workshops discussing “LGBTQIA+ 101” and “Pronoun Fluency” to earn a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Leadership Certificate.

This event is not TCU’s first drag show.

In April 2022, the university hosted “The Annual Night of Drag,” showcasing students taking the “Queer Art of Drag” class performing alongside professional drag queens. TCU first offered the course in 2021 under the Department of Women and Gender Studies, with participation in the April drag show serving as students’ final project.

The April show featured Nino Testa, the course’s professor and associate director of women and gender studies, performing as “Maria von Clapp.” Additionally, the school-sanctioned event showed pre-recorded videos of students cross-dressing and lip-syncing to popular songs and allowed them to accept tips from the audience. With participants encouraged to create “drag queen personas,” students performed under stage names such as: Marshall Arts, Bianca Bombshell, and Jizzica Sarah Parker.

Testa based the class on a course taught by his former Tufts University colleague Kareem Khubchandani (whose stage name is LaWhore Vagistan) and promoted the Queer Art of Drag class as a way for students to “queer spaces”.

“We’re going to create queer spaces, we’re going to challenge non-queer people to think queerly, and that’s more of a transformational experience rather than you’re welcome here or you’re safe here,” said Testa. “I hope that the class and the other work we’re doing in Women and Gender Studies is really getting people to think about not just drag but… how to queer spaces and how to encounter institutions that are not queer.”

Grassroots activist Carlos Turcios brought attention to TCU’s “Hispanic Heritage Month” drag show and questioned whether TCU would prevent minors from attending. Although this week’s show is a university event, the April drag show encouraged students to bring family and friends and did not include an age limit in advertisements.

“TCU is apparently having a drag show,” said Turcios. “Age restrictions? Also, how on earth is this something Latinos would support?! Latinos would not support this.”

As schools across Texas draw criticism for placing radical gender ideologies over academics, TCU will have to decide if drag shows align with their values as a Christian university.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.