The Drag Show Brings the Heat on Trans Day of Visibility

Fordham’s Fashion for Philanthropy raised over $650 at their night of song, dance, drag and community

JanelleNo.5 looks solemnly at the audience as she delivers a powerful performance.


Some performers asked to be identified only by their stage names due to privacy concerns.

In celebration of the annual Trans Day of Visibility on March 31, Fordham’s Fashion for Philanthropy (FFP) club hosted a drag show in the 12th-Floor Lounge. Fordham students took center stage at the event. Ms. Worldwide, Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center (GSBLC) ’25, who preferred to not be identified due to concerns about keeping their personal and professional lives separate, DJed while students snacked and danced. 

There were also drag sets by Dev Doee, Fredddie Bender, JanelleNo.5, and Twinkle Toes (Jacob Ruperto, GSBLC ’23). The event concluded with a question-and-answer session with the performers.

The idea for the drag show came about when Meilin Morefield, GSBLC ’24 and FFP president, went through the club’s Instagram archives when she was FFP’s secretary during her first year and noticed that Fordham had held drag shows in 2018 and 2019.

“It was such a dead club, like only three people came to the meetings, and I was like, I know FFP could be something great,” she said.

Before the performers went on, Ms. Worldwide played “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga as students funneled into the room and onto the dance floor, where people were enthusiastically singing the lyrics with their friends. There were a total of 163 attendees who checked in before the doors opened, according to FFP Treasurer Ernie Perez, FCLC ’24.

Those dancing in their seats transitioned to standing in their seats to see the first drag queen, Dev Doee, who is based in Brooklyn, over the crowd of people. Dev Doee showcased her flexibility to Beyoncé’s “CUFF IT”; she was followed by Twinkle Toes’ moves to a Wendy Williams/Dua Lipa mix and Fredddie Bender’s performance to “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift.

Throughout the night, FFP held a raffle in collaboration with New York City businesses, such as The Guggenheim Museum and 54 Below, with the goal of raising $500 for the nonprofit New Alternatives for LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth. New Alternatives provides support to LGBTQ+ youth through educational services and community-building activities. The nonprofit supports them throughout their transition from the shelter system to healthy lives. 

By the event’s end, students had contributed over $650 for queer homeless youth, with $163.80 raised within the miracle minute, in which FFP aimed to reach their $500 goal before the second set of performances, according to Perez.

“(With) the current state of our world and all the legislation, we thought it’d be really important to raise our voices as students,” Perez said.

“I just hope that we can continue to put on events that create a more welcoming community at Fordham.” Meilin Morefield, GSBLC ’24

Other clubs, students and the wider New York City community came together with FFP to celebrate LGBTQ+ trail blazers. Fordham Lincoln Center’s radio station, Wavelengths at Lincoln Center, and the PRISM LC club supported the facilitation and advertisement of the event on their respective Instagram pages. Jess Clauser, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’23, also presented an opportunity for students to draw what their gender was that day, a gender project they were doing for their visual justice course.

Morefield said that she hopes this event, which highlights student expression, will occur annually.

“I just hope that we can continue to put on events that create a more welcoming community at Fordham,” Morefield said. “We’ve been working really hard to build a space where students can come and just have fun and express themselves.”

An emblem of expression, drag queen JanelleNo.5, who has been performing drag for about eight years, closed out the show with “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion. She opened her dress to reveal a bejeweled ensemble on the ending lyrics that speak to openness and possibility, summing up a day of visibility and a Fordham event that welcomed everyone.