Walter Wendler denounces drag, says school will not put on a show

In a message to students, faculty and staff, West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler said drag performances denigrate women and stated that the school will not host drag performances on campus.

In an Instagram post Earlier this month, WTAMU student organization “Spectrum” promoted the drag event, stating, “Spectrum is partnering with F1RSTGEN and other organizations on campus to produce A Fool’s Drag Race, coming soon!”

While condemning drag in his message, Wendler suggested that people should send money to the Trevor Project, an organization meant to benefit the drag show.

“West Texas A&M University will not be hosting a drag show on campus,” Wendler wrote. “It was advertised for March 31, 2023 to raise money for the Trevor project. The nonprofit is focused on suicide prevention — a noble cause — in the LGBTQ community.”

“A performance that exaggerates aspects of femininity (sexuality, femininity, gender), drag depicts stereotypical women in caricature-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminates against femininity. Any event that disparages an individual or a group through such a depiction is wrong.” Wendler wrote.

“Drag shows are taunting, divisive, and demoralizing misogyny, regardless of the stated intent. Such behavior is contrary to the purpose of the Watchtower Society. A person or group should not attempt to uplift themselves or a cause by mocking another person or group. As University President, I would not endorse “blackface” performances on our campus, even if told the performance is a form of free speech or intended for humor. That is wrong. I do not endorse any shows, performances, or artistic expressions that who denigrate others – in this case women – for some reason,” he explained.

“A harmless drag show? Impossible. I will not condone the belittling of one group at the expense of rude gestures towards another group for any reason, even if the law of the country seems to require it. Supporting the Trevor Project is a good idea. My recommendation is to skip the show and send the batter,” Wendler wrote.

Spectrum pushed back in a opinionand argued that “drag is not a mockery” but “a celebration of … queerness, gender, acceptance, love and especially femininity”.

The group called on Wendler to resume the drag performance, apologize and step down from his role as university president.

A petition book page Posted on explains: “We, the students of WTAMU … urge him to reintroduce the drag show on campus. We’re running this drag show whether we have his support or not, but his extreme lack of compassion for the LGBT+ and activist student population on campus is evident in this latest email.”

Back in 2020, Wendler recognized the school’s 30-year milestone as part of the Texas A&M University System:

30 years TAMUS Dr. Walter

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