Sonoma State University’s Queer Student Alliance (QSA) hosted their 15th annual Gender Bender and Rainbow Prom on Saturday, April 27, in the Student Center Ballrooms. The night was packed with groovy ensembles, voguish attire, grins from ear to ear, and a famous host from the world of drag.
Event usher, Madison Hughes, expressed her excitement that night when glorifying host, Landa Lakes.
“We are pretty lucky to score such a genuine person and great MC.” said Hughes.
Landa Lakes, also known as Miko Thomas, is a Native American man who embraces and practices drag cross-dressing tradition. Live call-in program public radio station, Native American Calling, featured Lakes in an edition on drag culture in Native America.
“The gender-bending art form has less of a direct correlation to traditional Native culture, but there are some parallels. We talk to drag queens about their form of expression and the support—or lack of support—in their communities,” stated Native American Calling. Lakes proved to be an exceptional host because of her cultured approach; it is beneficial in uplifting acceptance in self love and community building.
Gender Bender is a vibrant and dynamic drag show—it is comprised of dressing up, dancing, music, and merriment. The QSA offers a comforting environment for students to celebrate their gender. The Rainbow Prom followed the Gender Bender and gave students the motive to champion gender nonconformity through any form of expression.
The night was fabulous and well executed; it offered a myriad of contests, prizes, and free snacks.
Prior to the drag show transition, the QSA hosted a multi cultural club-intersectional lip sync battle—the winner was awarded based on applause. A runway show then followed, and the members were judged by amounts of clapping; the final decision for the winners were announced and confirmed by Landa Lakes. After that portion of the night concluded, members of the event proceeded to the Rainbow Prom where they danced under the disco.
Emerson Robles-Tuttle is the man who put it all together. “Emerson is the person in the red velvet jacket. He is the person who manages to pull this off.” said Director of Student Involvement Mo Phillips. “He is the person who cares and strives to put this traditional series of events together.”
Emerson Robles-Tuttle is the president of The QSA. According to Robles-Tuttle, the overall club mission is to create a safe spectrum for LGBT folk.
“We serve as political activists for queer rights; if there is any form of discrimination on campus than we are the first to hear and we are the first to act.” Emerson exemplified that drag is a truly historical art form. Certain members of communities, from birth, dress in drag as a means of coping with gender dysphoria—the psychological feeling that you are not in the body that you were meant to be born in.