Kimberley Ann O’Neil, aka Doug Boyd, second from left, with members of ERSICSS in drag for the Glitter Masquerade Ball. Photo by Roman Rama III: The Signal.
Kimberley Ann O’Neil sits in a UHCL classroom not ready to learn, but ready to change. What was once a drab boring classroom has been transformed into a dressing room fully equipped with large mirrors and vases of pink roses.
With a gigantic makeup case and a garment bag holding a beautiful gown, Kimberley begins to unpack. Powder brushes, lipsticks, mascara and other items scatter the table as he begins to put on his face.
Kimberley, aka Doug Boyd, didn’t come to UHCL as a student, but as a performer who hoped to better educate younger generations about unity and acceptance. He was invited by UHCL’s Unity Club to perform in their Glitter Masquerade Ball held Friday, April 1, in Atrium II.
“It is important to branch out to our young ones because someone has got to take our place someday,” Boyd laughed as he applied more blush.
The event raised funds for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
The show included professional performers from the Houston chapter of the Empire of the Royal Sovereign and Imperil Court of the Single Star.
“We do an event every weekend, and I myself do maybe six or seven a month,” Boyd said. “It takes me about one hour just to do my makeup.”
Atrium II was covered with confetti, blinking lights and condoms, as an excited crowd waited for the divas to make their entrance.
They strutted in with sass and pizzazz, stimulating the audience with curiosity and shock before the divas began the performance with their very own “Liza Minnelli.”
Over the past 27 years, ERSICSS has raised $1 million for the LGBT community by doing fundraisers, shows and party events.
Part of the money raised by ERSICSS is used for a scholarship opportunity available to members of the LGBT community.
Boyd, who has been performing drag for ERSICSS for 11 years, stresses the importance of unity.
“The idea of unity is extremely hard to gain for the LGBT community,” Boyd said. “It’s an obstacle we have been trying to overcome for a long time and so we are always promoting unity in everything we do.”
Unity is a student organization created to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender awareness through educational workshops, speakers and activities.
“Unity is here at UHCL to make a gay-straight alliance so that everyone on campus feels welcome no matter what their sexuality is,” said Cassandra Jones, Unity vice president of finance.
Valerie Siman, Unity president, and the other club members have worked hard since last summer to build up the program.
“Someone suggested doing a drag queen show and we were all like ‘YES!’” Siman said. “So we are hosting a drag queen show to help raise funds, promote cultural diversity and gay/lesbian acceptance.”
Jones, dressed as Lady Gaga, wore a silver mini dress and a long blonde wig. All glittered up, she bounced around the audience encouraging them to donate to PFLAG and GLSEN.
“We wanted to do something fun for the student body and we are hoping to raise a whole bunch tonight,” Jones said.
The show brought a new and exciting experience to UHCL.
“I think this is the most lively the school has been in years,” Jones said.
This was the first time ERSICSS attended an event for a university audience.
The Glitter Masquerade Ball raised a grand total of $638 for PFLAG and GLSEN, but members of Unity hope that the event did much more than just raise funds.
“I’m hoping this will help people become more aware about the LGBT community,” Jones said, before she walked away leaving a trail of glitter behind her.