Drag within the Larger C/U Community

Over the course of Champaign-Urbana history, Drag has maintained a deep history within the community... Throughout most of its history in the community, Drag has maintained its home in the bars that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Most recently this was the Chester Street Bar, C Street. Unfortunately, C Street closed its doors for the last time in 2017 and since then the drag community has been without a steady home. Not only did spaces like C Street provide a venue for drag performances, but it provided a space for the larger LGBTQ+ community to be a part of the nightlife community of Champaign-Urbana. Although the straight community maintains a relatively positive and accepting perspective, the “gay friendly” environment is still in need of work. Often, straight communities are kept for acceptance when it benefits them professionally.  

Essentially speaking, drag continuously allows for interconnectivity within the larger LGBTQ+ and queer community. Nightclubs are not the only stage drag performers have in the Champaign-Urbana community. In 2018, the Urbana Free Library started Drag Queen Story time. At this event, queens read stories aloud to children at the library, introducing them to the drag and greater LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, this event provides local performers the chance to read in drag. Most importantly, the opening of these community spaces and events allows for mainstream society to create and foster relations with the drag community in ways previously unheard of. After all, children don’t commonly attend drag performances and this form of representation is virtual for queer youth.