AMES, Iowa — It’s a tone Iowa State University student and ISU Pride Alliance President Madison Mason says she has grown accustomed to.
“These are the kinds of people I’ve been dealing with my whole life as a queer person,” said the ISU junior student.
Last Friday the student group was gearing up for its largest fundraiser of the year, a drag show, inside the Maintenance Shop venue on campus, when the Iowa State College Republicans United publicly condemned the event saying it shouldn’t be allowed on campus. Mason said, “It got down to it that they said we are allowed our first amendment rights but only in a space that pleases them.”
In a statement, the group said “The Overton Window has been pushed so far from the Christian origins of our nation that these events are held and lauded as liberation when in reality drag and transgenderism promote sexual perversion and destruction of the morality that was once held in high esteem in America.“
Mason said the drag show event is nothing new on campus. “We’ve been doing drag at the Memorial Union and Maintenance Shop since the 1990s.”
The conservative group also spoke out against the Iowa State Student Union Board for helping host and fund the event with student government funds. Student Union Board President Brooklin Border says the event showcased what the ISU community is all about. “The support we had proves this campus is made for individuals from all walks of life, from all certain aspects and incredibly diverse.”
Organizers say the event was sold out and they had to turn people away at the door. Despite the success of ticket sales, the Iowa State Republicans United said the event alienated a large portion of the student body like conservatives and Christians. They say the event is a contradiction to the campus’ inclusive goals. Border says all groups are welcome. “We are always open to any student organization on campus no matter what they are. They can always approach the Student Union Board.”
Despite the pushback, Mason believes all Cyclones and all Iowans are stronger together. “Conservatives who love drag are welcome. Iowans who love drag are welcome.”
The ISU College Republicans United group was not available for an interview. The money raised from the drag show will be used to send students to the 30th annual Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Asexual College Conference in Ohio.