Drag queens to help spread awareness of safe sex and relationships on campus

Shelly Garzon
News Writer 
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Asheville Campus Entertainment and Peers Educating Peers and Advancing Health, a peer mentoring program created by UNC Asheville’s Health and Counseling Center, will host their annual Evening with a Sexologist this month, with a new twist.
“We had the Evening with a Sexologist event here at UNCA for a few years and it went pretty well but we wanted to incorporate another element into that,” said senior Audrey Thomas. “We’ve invited drag queens to come and provide the entertainment for it.” 
PEPAH’s strives to support students in their physical, mental, social and sexual wellness. The event will focus on relationships and having safer sexual relationships, according to senior Yen Doan. 
Event planner Brandon Romstadt said there will be three topics the drag queens will incorporate into their performances. 
“We’ve got safe sex, safe relationships and sexual communication,” Romstadt said. “The drag queens have to come up with a custom number and that number is going to be a mix of all kinds of songs that introduce the topics. The panelists will end up answering questions based on the category.” 
Thomas said the purpose of the shift from the Evening with the Sexologist to the show, entitled Birds, Bees, Queens and Everything in Between, was to be more inclusive for students but to also provide entertainment.
“When we had the Evening with the Sexologist a lot of the feedback we were getting was that it was really sex heavy and that’s not a bad thing because stundets have sex and their questions should be answered,” she said. “But what about the students who don’t and what about the students who are in relationships and have questions about that. We wanted to cover all the bases and make everyone feel welcome.” 
The goal for this show is to make it as entertaining as possible when discussing a topic that can be intimidating for some students, Thomas said. 
“Relationships and sex can be kind of a daunting topic so to have a little bit more of an entertainment aspect rather than just question after question we hope will give a little more relaxed vibe and a little more eagerness from the audience as well,” she said.
Thomas said the three drag queens performing are Beulah Land, Natasha Noir Nightly and Alexis Black. She said alongside the drag queens will be a panel of health, sex and relationship experts to answer students’ questions. 
A QR code will be provided on the flyer advertising the event which will allow students to submit their questions to the panelists, Romstadt said. 
“I wanted the panelists to have a warning. I wanted them to know what the questions were, not that I wanted them to prepare their answers because I really wanted to protect that organic feel of the event,” he said. 
Event planners will also be tabling around campus in order for students to hear about the show and submit their questions. 
“At tabling we can have little incentives, like ask a question and get a snack,” Thomas said. 
The first 100 attendees will receive a goodie bag or prize in which they can find things like internal and external condoms, flavored lubricant, tips on healthy relationships and candy, said Health Promotion Coordinator Kenda Mullert. 
“If this year is successful we’re hoping to do it annually,” said Doan. “Every year it’s going to be a little bit different because there’s going to be different questions asked. Personally, I’m hoping that people will come every year and learn something new.” 
Birds, Bees, Queens and Everything in Between will take place on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in Blue Ridge Ballroom in the Highsmith Student Union.