This Saturday, Jan. 26, the EngiQueers held their second annual Eng Does Drag event at the Wave. As soon as you entered the Wave, there was a high energy from all in attendance — the participants, planning committee and audience members. The crowd was comprised mostly of engineering students across all disciplines and years.
“This is only our second year doing it, but [Eng Does Drag] is definitely our biggest event of the year,” says executive member of EngiQueers and fifth-year mechatronics engineering student, Matt Lawrence.
EngiQueers is hoping the popularity of their event takes the same trajectory as that of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a Netflix reality show where drag queens from across the States compete in various challenges. The show started out with very little media attention or company sponsors, but has recently garnered a strong and broad fan base.
This year’s Eng Does Drag contest featured three drag queens and one drag king. Eng Does Drag judged contestants in three categories — runway look, question period and a lip sync battle.
The event was sponsored by a local sex shop, Spot of Delight, which provided various prizes for the raffle draw at the end.
All of the participants were engineering students, but anyone was welcome to attend the show. Matthew Tutty, a third-year engineering student hosted the event in full drag as “Tut de la Fruit”. Dressed in a skin tight purple dress with a long brunette wig and black leather heels, Tutty was unrecognizable from his usual jeans and leather jacket attire.
Trent Chappus performed as “Nikki Dees," Matt Bradshaw transformed into “Wanda Falice" and “Thottiana Fattoush" also made an appearance. Finally, Andrea Helter was a very convincing drag king as "Mike Hock."
A highlight performance was Helter’s Magic Mike rendition of the song "Pony." Channeling her inner Channing Tatum, Helter garnered big laughs from the audience with her eccentric dance moves and expressive facial reactions.
The move of the night, however, undoubtedly went to Fattoush and Bradshaw during their lip sync performance, as they both stunned the crowd with a death drop — a move where a dancer falls to the floor with their back leg bent behind them. The painful tactic paid off though, and Fattoush came away with the win.
Fattoush was visibly thrilled as he collected his trophy and wasn't hesitant to flaunt his bragging rights on stage.
The competition remained friendly, and all participants were very supportive of one another.
“Win or lose, the main priority of this event was to bring more awareness to the LGBTQ community in engineering,” says Jake Girling, EngiQueer executive member and third-year chemical engineering student.
EngiQueers has only been a club for four years, with a core membership of about 20 people, plus occasional attendees at their year-round events. The club identifies as having a similar mission as Women in Engineering — to increase representation of the less-typical engineering student. The club is not exclusive to those who identify as LGBTQ2+, and encourages allies to join and attend events.
“We’re really just trying to promote diversity in engineering to help re-write the narrative that engineers are only straight, cis, white males,” says Lawrence.
The Eng Does Drag event is a great way to accomplish this; seeing the three men dressed as women is both captivating and eye-opening as the stereotype of the traditional, masculine, engineer is challenged through its juxtaposition with drag.
Surveying the event, it’s clear this community has been established; the audience was in laughter the entire evening, the contestants were beaming and the whole crowd joined together at the end to head to Lavish for celebrations.
If you are interested in learning more about the EngiQueers or would like to join the club, follow them on Facebook here.
Update (6:53 p.m., Jan. 28): the article was updated to accurately represent the evening's drag performers in this medium.