Drag show displays support for LGBTQ

Drag show displays support for LGBTQ

By Elizabeth zinchuk

Kings and queens with attitude and glamour expressed themselves on stage at the Student Center ballroom Saturday.

The Saluki Rainbow Network and Student Center Special Programs presented “Zombies: Eat Your Heart Out” Drag Show on Saturday. TJ Jannak, president of Saluki Rainbow Network, said the drag show had drag kings for the first time in three years. One of those kings made a big announcement during the performance.

Faim Lee Jewls of Harrisburg, more often known as Faim, is a drag king who has performed off and on for eight years. During her performance, Faim, whose real name is Julie Baldwin, brought her 14-year-old daughter to stage and announced as of last week, she is cancer free.


Taytum was diagnosed in September with Hodgkins disease, Faim said. Hodgkins disease is a cancer originating in the white blood cells.

“When she first told me, it took about 24 hours for it to sink in and when it did, it was an emotional rollercoaster,” Faim said. “I would laugh, I would cry. I went back and forth with it for a long time and it’s huge for her and our family.”

Faim said she was honored to be on stage and it was exciting yet emotional to announce her daughter’s triumph over cancer.

The show had four queens and two kings perform over the course of three hours. The performers included Kara Belle, Veronica Belle Headley, Riley James, Rocelle O’Leight, and Sierra O’Leight, along with Faim. Blanche DuBois emceed the show.

Faim and Riley James have been engaged since December.

Faim said being on stage makes her feel alive. She has performed all of his life whether as a dancer, gymnast or a cheerleader, she said.

She said the last four years, she has performed more avidly and usually books two to three shows a month in venues in Carbondale, Evansville and St. Louis. His home performance bar is Two 13 in Carbondale.


Faim said she spends a lot of time behind a computer screen and reflecting on her experiences while preparing for her performances.

“I read over lyrics, and try to find songs that kind of match the mood I’m in or something I’ve experienced,” she said. “A lot of my performing comes from life experiences and things I’ve gone through.”

Faim said she enjoys interacting with the audience while on stage and likes seeing their reactions.

“I’ve always been more of myself when I’m on stage somewhere because I feel more comfortable,” she said. “I like to make people laugh, I like to excite people.”

Veronica Belle Headley of Carbondale said he has performed for about five years. He got his start in Carbondale and now performs and lives in Chicago.

Headley said that there is a false stigma about drag queens all wanting to be women.

“A lot of us want to do drag because of the fact that it gives all of us a creative outlet,” he said.

Headley said the group of queens performs because they love the stage and it shows their individuality.

“I know a lot of girls here mostly do it for a creative outlet because we all love to be on stage,” he said. “That’s the best thing about this group is because we all love the stage so much.”

Headley said he usually takes one to two weeks to pick a song and practice a performance to prepare.

The preparation is usually dictated by what he is trying to do in a performance, he said. Sometimes he is just trying to have fun and sometimes he is trying to get across a point or message, he said.

“I love being on stage,” Headley said. “Stage is home, walking through this world is where I’m nervous because there is too many crazy people out there.”

Jannak, a sophomore from Tinley Park studying business, said SIU first held drag shows in 2001. He said the drag show is a creative way to battle homophobia.

“We really do try to get the word out to end homophobia especially around here,” he said. “I feel like with every show we break down some more walls.”

Jannak said this is the third show at SIU he has attended and the second show he has hosted. He said he was happy with the show’s attendance.

“I like the fact that there are so many new people here who are willing to try new things,” he said.

For more information about future drag shows and LGBTQ news, go on Twitter @SRNOfficial or go the Saluki Rainbow Network’s Facebook page. The Saluki Rainbow Network meets Wednesdays in Activity Rooms C/D on the third floor of the Student Center.

Elizabeth can be reached at [email protected], on twitter at @ElizabethZ_DE, or by phone as 536-3311 ext. 256.