- Tomas Bolivar,
Pride Vice President
It’s been a busy time for ISU Pride. The student Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender organization recently not only held their “biggest event of the year”, the annual drag show, but also elected their new board of directors. I met with Mary Patterson, ISU Pride’s social media organizer, to discuss the latest with the group.
“In preparation for a whole new year of Pride, and whatever it has in store for us, we needed to re-elect our board,” says Patterson.
Their new president will be Tomas Bolivar; the organization’s current vice president.
“He has big shoes to fill,” Patterson says with a smile, “But I think he’s definitely going to lead Pride well.”
Bolivar is delighted to be taking on the job.
“I couldn’t be happier,” says the newly elected president. “Ever since I joined Pride as a freshman at ISU, I’ve invested so much commitment into the organization. It feels so rewarding to be handed the position of president.”
“He’s a very passionate about the organization, and about everything LGBT,” comments Pride member Xavier Grady. “As vice president for the past year, we all know he’s got such a driven and passionate spirit. He’s going to be terrific.”
The effort and creativity Pride invest in their events took center stage at the annual drag show in the Student Bone Center, as act after glittering act enthralled a packed audience.
Bolivar is no stranger to performing at Pride’s drag shows. During last year’s event he performed as half of a duet. But this year’s drag show marked his first solo performance as his alter ego ‘Maxxii Canna,’ a major challenge for the 20-year-old ISU sophomore.
“I grew up in a traditional Mexican family; there are set rules for men and for women, and they are lines that you just do not cross. “ he says. “Boys wear boy clothes, that sort of thing, and those rules had always been instilled in me from an early age.
“I put so much effort into my performance this year. For weeks before the audition I had been watching acts by other drag queens on [the television program] ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race’, and I felt a lot more prepared and more confident than last year.”
The biggest worry for Bolivar was the choreography.
“Days before the routine, I had nearly everything set up; I’d bought the outfit and practiced the make-up about half a dozen times. All that was missing was the routine.”
As soon as the sophomore begins talking about his performance at the drag show, you see his face fill with delight. “Nothing I could say can live up to the thrill of being up on stage,” he enthuses. “Your nerves just take over. There you are in front of an audience of your closest friends and absolute strangers, your heart pounding like mad, and you just go for it.
“Honestly, I think performing as a drag act has made me more comfortable with my own gender and sexuality.”
Mary Patterson agrees that the show is a key part of the group’s activities. “It allows individuals to express a side of themselves that they usually keep hidden,” she says. “It’s so great to see the audience’s reaction, whether it’s surprise or complete delight or a mixture of both!”
Pride meets every Wednesday at 7pm in room 375 of the Student Services Building. New members are welcome.