By Aoibhínn Slattery
On Thursday of Week 5, February 23rd 2017, Out in UL hosted one of our biggest events of the second semester in the form of Alternative Miss UL. AMUL is the annual amateur drag competition held in the Scholars Club by Out in UL and we always welcome numerous performers –drag kings, queens and also faux queens and kings– to take to the stage and unleash their inner drag disasters.
Preparations for AMUL had our committee working hard over the last few weeks. At our weekly member’s meeting on the Monday (20th February), we had a meeting on the topic of Gender Identity and Expression, which included a discussion about drag and why it has such cultural significance within the LGBTQ+ Community. Right up until the night, the feelings of excitement were at their height in Out in UL HQ and beyond! Indeed, we attracted fantastic crowds to AMUL, Out in UL members and non-members alike. The turnout was outstanding with the Scholar’s Club packed to capacity. The crowd seemed very engaged and some were even live- tweeting the event! Though some people who were in Scholars beforehand may or may not have been aware that AMUL was taking place there, a few looked ever so slightly taken aback when the action began, but it did not take long for them to start cheering on our queens and enjoy themselves immensely!
This year, AMUL was hosted by Mei Yuan, one of the queens who competed in last year’s AMUL and came in second place.One of our previous winners, drag queen Aurora Sapphyre performed a beautiful ballad act at this year’s AMUL, which was very well received by everyone in attendance. We welcomed three contestants, all of whom were first-time performers with no previous drag experience. We had Betty Swallows, Royal Pain and TeCiara Mockingbird who was one of the joint hosts for AMUL 2016!, As a member of the audience, I myself was completely and utterly awestruck by how impressive all the contestants were, especially considering that this was the contestants’ drag debut. The winner was Betty Swallows, who pulled off a remarkable performance that left the crowd mesmerised. It was a particularly entertaining act for those sitting at the judges’ table, right in front of the stage! The winner was presented with a tiara, a sceptre and two tickets to Dragged Up’s Latrice and Aja, which takes place in late May in HANGAR, Dublin. Also, thanks to the Odeon Cinema Castletroy, there were two cinema passes that were raffled on the night.
Now that AMUL 2017 is done, Out in UL HQ is now preparing for our next big event, Queerbash! This is perhaps Out in UL’s largest event of the year. Each year Queerbash has a different theme and the theme is announced at AMUL, and the theme of Queerbash XIV will be ‘Fairytales and Fiction-Let your imagination run wild’. Queerbash will take place in Dolans on Friday 7th April; tickets will be sold at the door for €10 and will be hosted by none other than Notorious K.I.D, a much-loved previous winner of AMUL who also performed at this at our Big Night Out in Stroker’s Gay Bar during Rainbow Week last semester. We have many amazing acts lined up for the night, including the band and performances from UL Drama Society and some students from the B.A. Voice and Dance programme. It should be a fantastic event so come along, and here’s hoping it will be an even bigger success than AMUL.