Drag show struts its way into the Boathouse

Spinnaker

Club PRIDE hosts the event in order to raise funds for JASMYN

He is soft-spoken. He doesn’t enjoy being on stage or being the center of attention. He doesn’t even really like large groups of people.

But Kevin Brown decided to put himself in someone else’s shoes — high heels to be exact — for just a few daunting moments, in hopes of procuring donations to benefit the supportive haven JASMYN, the Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network.

On Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., Brown, a psychology junior and president of UNF’s club PRIDE, joins other first-timers to dance and lip sync in a drag show in the Student Union Boathouse.

“I’m convinced I’m going to make a pretty ugly woman,” Brown said, planning to reenact CC Sheffields “Escape Me,” a melody of self-discovery.

Brown said this is the first time he’s had the desire to dress like a woman — after all, it’s for a worthy cause.

PRIDE aims to raise $400, 100 percent of tips and donations going straight to JASMYN.

Another student and future performer can’t wait to have all eyes on him during his Lady Gaga cover.

“I look good in high heels,” said Chris Fulcher, a UNF biology senior, member of PRIDE and staff assistant for the LGBT Resource Center, the UNF department that provides a safe place for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students.

He said he anticipates some guests at the Boathouse not knowing about the show before they sit down to dig into their food and drinks that night.

“I think they’ll like what they see,” Fulcher said.

He said he generally prefers male clothing but likes the androgynous look, such as trendy, tight-fitting clothing.

Fulcher’s confidence with his sexual orientation has persevered even through a hate crime committed against him while living in the Osprey Cove residence hall. He came home to his dorm room one day, several years ago, and his roommates had found a threatening note to him on their door.

It called him severely derogatory names concerning his sexuality, and said if he continued to live on campus, he would be killed. UPD was contacted immediately and filed a police report.

“It was like a big knife into my heart,” Fulcher said, mentioning other sexual discrimination he and others have faced concerning donating blood, getting married and being hired for certain jobs. “It feels like all of society doesn’t care about you.”

Shortly after the life-threatening experience he considered enlightening, he joined PRIDE for a support group. He said UPD and the counseling center were very helpful and encouraging throughout the whole ordeal, as well.

After learning of the culprits through a mutual friend, Fulcher said he had compassion for those who created the note and decided not to press charges.

Since then, Fulcher has made leaps and bounds to encourage tolerance and equality for UNF students.

He contacted Dan Savage’s agent and brought the love columnist to campus Sept. 24, and hundreds of students came to hear Savage’s opinion of homosexuality, marriage and relationships.

The previous drag show in 2008 packed out Wackado’s and raised about $300, said Leni Akapnitis, a UNF sociology senior. Seeing the excitement of his friends in PRIDE with the upcoming drag show, Fulcher became convinced he should also don traditionally feminine attire and shake his first strut down the drag catwalk, he said.

“It’s a performance where all the gender rules go out the door,” Fulcher said. “You can express yourself how you want to.”