Diva La Paz celebrates LGBTQ community
A diva performs during Diva La Paz at Colonia de la Paz Residence Hall on Nov. 7, 2014, to raise awareness about issues facing the LGBT community. A residence assistant created the event 21 years ago.
Tucson’s Black Cat, Ajia Simone and a team of divas performed for the 21st annual drag queen show at UA on Friday night. The yearly event is hosted by the UA and the staff of Colonia de la Paz Residence Hall.
Diva la Paz had a rocky start. During its first performance, signs were hung up by students in disapproval of a drag show being held in their residence hall, and one of the performers was even struck by raw eggs, according to Simone.
"A good thing came out of it," Simone said.
The performer said it opened the student’s eyes, particularly the ones who were genuinely enjoying the show. It gave them a perspective on what the divas deal with on a daily basis, she said.
The event grows each year, drawing in more and more UA students. A variety of people attend Diva la Paz.
"Every year it’s just gotten better," Simone said.
RELATED: Diva La Paz puts on 21st annual show
The drag show began at 7 p.m., but doors opened an hour earlier. Before the show, there was an opportunity for the guests to learn some background history on the LGBT community. An entire study room was transformed into a museum, known as the pride room.
Matthew Linton, the community director of La Paz, helped coordinate the show for the first time this year.
"The pride room is really just set up to show how big of an impact the LGBTQ community has on the world," Linton said. "So we really highlight the definitions of each letter in the acronym."
According to Linton, they go beyond the letters and include other types of sexual identities.
After the performance by the divas, a Q&A gave students a chance to learn more about their drag lifestyle. The divas were all open when it came to discussing their day-to-day lives.
"The message that I leave every year is that there’s two sides to everything, and sometimes three," Simone said. "You can’t have anybody question what is natural."
Simone also expressed her belief that we, as humans, make each other who we are, specifically because we’re different. Simone’s philosophy is that everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be, and there are certain things the world shouldn’t question.
Students also lined up for photos and one-on-one conversations with the divas after the event was over.
La Paz dedicates the entire first half of the school year to this event. All the planning of the layout, decorations and corresponding with the divas are just parts of it, Linton said.
The staff at La Paz also decorates a specific room just for the queens, giving them the proper space they need to get ready for their big performances.
This event is always open to the whole UA community but began right in La Paz. It was created by a residence assistant 21 years ago and continues to be a memorable event that residents and staff are proud to present on a yearly basis.
Linton does not see the event leaving La Paz any time soon due to the long-lasting relationships that have been formed between the drag community and the UA.
Follow Brianna Lewis on Twitter.