The kings and queens of BHS: students to perform in drag ball


BHS’ GSA prepares for the drag ball. Photo courtesy: Andrew LeValley

Georgia Wool and Julia Keeton

BHS’ Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) is working hard to create their own LGBTQ+ community at BHS. This year, the club is starting by running BHS’ first ever drag ball at the school’s homecoming football game. The game kicks off at 7:00 pm, and the drag performance will begin at halftime. 

“I’m super excited to strut our stuff,” GSA member Sage Windorf said. 

Burlington and South Burlington’s GSA clubs have teamed up to produce 30 drag queens and kings for the ball. The performers will each walk down a catwalk constructed by the GSA with music playing in the background. 

¨We’re going to take pride in who we are,” Andrew LeValley, the GSA’s faculty advisor, said. “And we’re going to show up and show you that we can have a good time and laugh and smile and not just have this reputation of being a marginalized group that is oppressed.¨

According to LeValley, the drag ball has been in the works since the end of the last school year. BHS athletic director Quaran Pickney suggested homecoming for the performance. 

Wig for drag ball. Photo courtesy: Andrew LeValley

“The GSA was like, ‘Oh my gosh, okay, so this is going to be a thing, if they’re [giving] us the homecoming game,” LeValley said. “So we just immediately started planning.” 

Though drag performers are often labeled with the terms “queen” and “king,” drag is not restricted to binary genders.  

“It’s going to be drag queens,” LeValley said. “It’s going to be drag kings. And it’s going to be everyone in between. The beautiful part about drag is that it encompasses everyone and that is a wonderful moment for me.” 

All the GSA members expressed excitement for their upcoming performance but also some nervousness for spectators’ reactions. 

¨My ideal would be for everyone to support it and accept it,” BHS Freshman Vin Jimenez said. “And if you don’t like it, don’t say anything about it and keep it to yourself.¨ 

BHS Senior Rowan Wurthmann decided to participate in the drag ball to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. 

“[Drag] shouldn’t be a stigma or something that we laugh at,” Wurthmann said. “It should be accepted. And we have a duty to be there and to show up and show [the LGBTQ+ community] that we accept this.”

Ezra Totten, the GSA’s student leader, is hopeful that the school will follow Wurthmann’s lead. 

¨I think the Burlington community will be very uplifting, and we just hope everyone is open minded about all of it,” Totten said. “I think we’re the first high school ever to do this, so it is very new to everyone.¨ 

The GSA club at BHS was started by LeValley, who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, with the hope to broaden the student body’s social experiences. 

¨My experiences in high school were sometimes really horrific,” LeValley said. “I am here [leading the GSA] because I just want students, who live in this world now, to have a different experience than what I had in high school.¨

Totten joined the GSA his freshman year. Back then, meetings were teacher led and happened infrequently. The summer before his sophomore year, LeValley asked him to assume his current role.

¨[Student leading] really just gave way for more student voices to be heard and to be more of a student led group, instead of adults controlling the narrative,” Totten said. 

I’m just going to put faith in our community and put faith in our student body

— Andrew LeValley


GSA’s meetings are a balance of light hearted fun and serious discussion. 

¨We’re just silly and laughing and listening to music one day,” LeValley said. “But then, there are other times when we are really discussing things and just being together.¨ 

In recent weeks, the drag ball has been the GSA’s primary focus. The club is committed to its success. 

“I’m just going to put faith in our community and put faith in our student body and just try and make this show full of love and fabulosity and just joy,” LeValley said.