EROS hosts NonConFormal dance with drag queen emcee

By Maegan White

Elm Staff Writer

On Friday, Nov. 18, Encouraging Respect of Sexualities (EROS) hosted NonConFormal, their dance and drag show in the Skybox of Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium.

EROS President sophomore Morgan Carlson said that EROS’ priority is to create a welcoming and authentic environment for students. 

“Ultimately our mission is to create a space where queer culture is celebrated and to reach out to the Washington College community in a fun and creative way where everyone can let loose and have a good time,” Carlson said.

The event was emceed by drag queen Onyx Black, who had a neon pink wig and wore a black leather outfit. 

EROS Senior Advisor senior Avery Castellani was the liaison between the drag queen and EROS as both prepared for the event. 

According to Castellani, they invited a drag queen to host the event to boost attendance and set it apart from other dances. Bringing in a drag queen was something that Castellani has been wanting to do since her freshman year. 

Castellani said that EROS hosted a dance due to the “all-too-common phenomena” of LGBTQ+ students being unable to have the same “prom night” or school dance culture as their peers. 

“We wanted to provide an opportunity to relive that kind of magic, but in an environment where they could be their true, authentic selves,” Castellani said. “This in itself is a big reason as to why the event was dubbed the NonConFormal.”

Onyx Black performed three times throughout the night. She had the students gather in a semi-circle as she performed to mashups of songs including Taylor Swift and 90s music. The crowd was engaged in her performance, taking videos, cheering, and singing along. 

Before her final performance of the night, she selected five members from the audience to perform in a “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” style lip sync battle. Each of the five contestants had to come up with their own drag persona and perform a random song.

Sophomore Farren Hauer won the lip sync battle by receiving the greatest amount of applause for their performance. Hauer has already been preparing for their performance. 

“I am an avid watcher of ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race’ so I have been thinking about what I would do for a while,” Hauer said. “Being able to just act like a different person and come out confident was fun.”

Hauer also serves as the Vice President of Supporting all Gender Experiences (SAGE). They said that they are excited  about having so many spaces on campus for people to be themselves and feel supported.

“I decided to come out tonight because I am the vice president of SAGE, one of the many LGBTQ+ clubs we have here on campus,” Hauer said. “I thought it would be a good time to come out and meet other people from the community in a nice, fun, accepting space.”

After years of being inactive due to COVID-19, EROS came back with full force this semester. The NonConFormal is just one of their successful events.

Castellani said that EROS has had many positive changes since when she first joined the club in her freshman year.

“Compared to when I started, EROS has just become bigger,” she said. “We’re partnering with more clubs than ever, have a highly active Instagram page, and have broadened the types of events [and] meetings we have, such as our highly successful Mario Kart tournament and bingo night. And we have much more planned for the spring.”

To learn more about the club and future events, follow them on Instagram at @wac.eros.

Photo by Riley Dauber

Photo Caption: The EROS executive board invited drag queen Onyx Black to emcee the dance and perform lip-sync mash-ups.

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