By Erin Moyer || Senior Editor
Last Friday, the LGBTA+ hosted its seventh annual GenderBender Ball. The dance was held in the Steinman College Center atrium from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and featured DJs, dancing,performances from F&M’s all-male accapella group The Chessmen, and three drag performers.
Jim Andrascik ’16, LGBTA+’s Logistics Coordinator, served as GenderBender’s main planner, booking the event space and performers. David Lyon ’17 marketed the event online, and Ethan Crans ’18 coordinated with the Ball’s sponsors. Andrascik’s work began two months ago, when he first found a venue and secured contracts with the outside performers.
This year’s GenderBender featured two drag queens, Amethyst Diamond and Kahmor Vixenn, as well as, at popular request, a drag king named Joey Morgan.
In her second number, Diamond, Lancaster’s reigning Ms. Tally Ho, danced to Sia’s “Chandelier,” while Vixenn made a festive debut dressed in homage to Hocus Pocus’ Bette Midler while performing the song “I Put a Spell on You.”
F&M’s all-male a capella group, The Chessmen, also performed. The men dressed for the occasion in a variety of dresses, including sun, maxi, and what appeared to be one nightgown.
To close the night, GenderBender also featured a Student Drag Competition, pitting student against student to see who was best-dressed outside of the gender binary. President Porterfield served as surprise guest judge, and Miss Cyanyde and Miss Oksana (known to some as Jaymes Ngo ‘18 and Ekow Eshun ‘16) were crowned the winners.
The Ball was well-attended, with the atrium full of F&M students who dressed in drag for the occasion.
“I have had a hand in planning a total of three [GenderBenders], with this and last year’s events being the largest and most successful,” Andrascik said. “The College Center atrium was packed [on Friday], and I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.”
GenderBender was also co-sponsored by a number of other on-campus organizations, including the Alice Drum Women’s Center, the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, Ware College House, the Office of the Chaplain, Philadelphia Alumni Writer’s House, and Hillel.
For Andrascik, GenderBender serves an important function on campus.
“I think that GenderBender’s place at F&M is great because it serves to present a different view; perhaps some people aren’t comfortable in the clothes they wear every day and the least we can do is provide a night where they feel comfortable enough to party without any stigma or negativity,” Andrascik said. “In any case, GenderBender is a night of non-conforming fun, and it shows that a wide range of attitudes and acceptance and diversity are present on our campus.”
“People of different sexualities and gender identities are all around us every day and some are so scared to come out or to be who they are outwardly,” Andrascik pointed out. “So to provide an event, even if just for one night, it’s worth it to let those individuals be themselves.
If that small difference can be made, perhaps it’s a way to open the door to a more comfortable and accepting campus where people can be themselves, who they are, without fear or worry.”
Senior Erin Moyer is a Senior Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.