SMART Cougars presents OUT in Drag on Tuesday
By Lourdes Zavaleta
Six of Houston’s best-known drag performers will showcase their talents Tuesday night, Oct. 3 during the third-annual National Coming Out Day celebration hosted by SMART Cougars, a UH health services center.
OUT in Drag is set for 6:30 p.m. at UH’s Student Center South. Angelina DM Trailz, Dj Aracely Manterola, Deyjzah Opulent Mirage, Adriana Vanity, Kristina Kouture and Erin Taylor will perform and share their coming out stories.
OUT in Drag’s coordinators say the show will also focus on normalizing conversations about HIV, safe-sex practices and LGBTQ-related issues.
“It is an educational opportunity for students to learn about the drag scene and sexual health, and have fun at the same time,” says Dr. Samira Ali, SMART Cougars’ clinical project director.
SMART Cougars, a partnership between UH’s Graduate College of Social Work and Avenue 360 Health and Awareness, conducts free mental health, substance abuse, HIV and Hepatitis C screenings for students and people in the surrounding community. Before OUT in Drag begins, SMART Cougars will provide free HIV tests to attendees.
“Stigma and myths about HIV and HIV-positive individuals further oppress the population mostly affected by the virus,” says Maria Wilson, SMART Cougars’ clinical project coordinator. “Although there are many voices speaking out about their HIV status and advocating for this population, we see a need for more education and myth-debunking on campus.”
Last year’s show was held at F Bar. This year, SMART Cougars moved OUT in Drag to UH so more students can attend.
Along with free HIV testing, the show will include free snacks, safe-sex supplies and printed resources. It will be followed by a Q&A and a meet-and-greet with the performers.
“Guests can expect information, education, entertainment, and fun for sure,” Wilson says.
UH will host its other annual National Coming Out Day event, the LGBTQ Resource Center’s Coming Out Monologues, on October 25.
National Coming Out Day began in 1988 to celebrate the importance and activism in coming out. Since then, on or around Oct. 11, people around the world have held workshops, speak-outs and rallies to promote LGBTQ people living openly.