Photo by Alex McKenzie
Campus Life’s Mosaic, Interfaith Center & Queer Student Lounge welcomed Justin Clapp, also known by her drag persona Vivica C. Coxx, who performed and spoke about her life as a drag diva. Coxx is a UMBC alumna who graduated in 2007. As a student, she was an RA at Patapsco Hall and the Walker Avenue Apartments.
The PAWTalk was held in the Commons Skylight Room on Tuesday, April 3 and was open to the public. Coxx also brought fellow drag queens Naomi and Stormy Day. The drag divas danced to a variety of songs and discussed their drag queen history afterward.
Coxx spoke about the beginning of her career. “I was given the opportunity to compete in an amateur drag competition,” she said. “The first show I did was in the House of Coxx amateur show. I was in my late twenties.”
The drag diva presented pictures of herself. “I also do characters, such as Ursula. I also made a Rose Quartz costume from Steven Universe — [that costume] was really expensive,” she said.
Coxx founded the House of Coxx and described the history of the community she built. “As long as you’re interested in drag and care about entertaining people, the House of Coxx will welcome you,” she said.
Coxx calls Stormy Day and Naomi her daughters. She said, “we are unique as a drag house and family. Not only are we the most diverse, but we have people of varying gender identity, varying race and sexual orientation.”
The House of Coxx was also built as a platform for social justice. Coxx said, “we fought for prisoner’s rights and we drew attention to queer Latino and Black history. We’re partnered with QORDS, where LGBT teenagers meet other LGBT teenagers.”
The drag diva emphasized the importance of consent in any relationship. “We start every show on the topic of consent,” she said. “We usually ask the audience if they know what enthusiastic consent is. If your response is an excited ‘yes,’ that is what enthusiastic consent is.”
Stormy Day mentioned that others often misunderstand drag queens. She said, “being a drag queen, I get offensive, transphobic questions from family members outside the circle. Some people don’t understand that we are living in a whole different world.”
Naomi experienced similar reactions from her family: “My family is very religious. They know that I do drag, but they completely ignore it and refuse to acknowledge it.”
Mechanical engineering alumnus Dante Wheeler has no connection with the LGBT community. He said, “I came to the event because it looked interesting. I learned a lot about drag and saw how they seemed like a tight community. Before, I never knew how a lot of different people did drag.”
Body politics play a large role in the trans-drag community. “You aren’t seen as human. You aren’t seen as normal. People will come up and touch you,” Coxx said. “[The House of Coxx] created a space based on consent so everyone is comfortable. We will not hesitate to kick anyone out of our show who disrespects anyone’s body in any way.”
“We usually adopt anyone to the House of Coxx if they fit what we do,” Coxx said. “We ask, ‘do you want to promote social justice, put on a good show and become a part of the family?’ Because those are the real questions.”