When we think about the arts we normally think about paintings, orchestras, and ballets, and it is no secret that some of the most talented artists are/were members of the LGBTQ community. On March 30, 2019, El Paso Community College hosted an event to show off this community at the Borderland Queer Arts Showcase held at the Administrative Services Center.
The show was organized by the Borderland Rainbow Center, an advocacy group that provides a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community by, hosting support groups, AA meeting and running a food pantry.
The event gave younger performers the opportunity to come together, showcase their talents and compete for a cash prize. The Queer Arts Showcase welcomed performers of all ages, but the competition was limited to anyone 25 years old or younger and included two categories drag and singing, both offering the first-place prize of $200.
CLAUDIA SILVA / TEJANO TRIBUNE
The showcase featured singers and drag performances such as "Lenox", first place winner for drag, who received a $200 prize.
Throughout the evening these young performers got to twirl on stage, sing their heart out and show the world how they strut their stuff to the tune of Diana Ross and Lady Gaga. Some performers came surrounded by family, others may have come alone but they all dare to be different and that’s what brought them together.
Organizer and member of the Borderland Rainbow Center Tobi Martin explained his inspiration for bringing the event to EPCC stating, “A lot of People want to do this. They want to do drag and stuff, but the only places right now are bars and places like that.”
Christopher Mack, the first-place winner of the singing portion of the competition after singing his own original song explained how he felt about the competition stating “to be honest I had no idea what to expect. There was an immense amount of pride I had in being surrounded by people who not only walk in but truly live in their truth.
I’ve never heard of a competition like this, so I jumped on it as fast as possible”Other organizations joined alongside the Borderland Rainbow center including Moms on Board who bring awareness to LGBT issues and registered people to vote, M Factor which runs HIV prevention programs in the city of El Paso and the Sane Program that provides 24/7 medical forensic exams for rape victims at UMC.
Other organizations like QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) EPCC and QSA UTEP are student-run programs that focus on equality and inclusion on school campuses. Vice President of QSA UTEP Saul Murillo stated, “We strive to create a safe place for students.”
QSA UTEP will be organizing their 11th annual Queer Prom, designed to give those that don’t feel comfortable going to prom or have never gone the opportunity to experience what it’s like in a safe, judgment-free environment.
This event is open to all members of the community including High School students.QSA EPCC holds monthly peer support meetings, offers education on LGBTQ issues and are always accepting new members, find them @epccqsa or contact faculty advisor Crystal Robert at erober27 @epcc.edu for more information.