West Texas A&M University’s president canceled a drag show that was scheduled to take place on the campus and criticized the event as being demeaning to women, according to ABC 7 News.
“As a performance exaggerating aspects of womanhood (sexuality, femininity, gender), drag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood,” President Walter Wendler wrote in an email to students, faculty and staff members. “Any event which diminishes an individual or group through such representation is wrong.”
The email was titled “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing” and was in response to the drag show scheduled for March 31, ABC7 news reported. The show was planned as a fundraiser for the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization that provides information and support to LGBTQ youth.
“Drag shows are derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny, no matter the stated intent,” Wendler wrote in the email. “No one should claim a right to contribute to women’s suffering via a slapstick sideshow that erodes the worth of women.”
Community members started a petition on Change.org calling for the reinstatement of the drag show, according to local news outlet MyHighPlains. The petition states that “The shunning of this performance constitutes an indirect attack on the LGBT+, feminist and activist communities of the WTAMU student body by targeting an event that is meant to support an LGBT+ charity.” Nearly 4,500 people had signed it as of late Tuesday afternoon.