Drag Show At USD Sparks Controversy

University Of San Diego Drag Show Drew Criticism From Alumni Chuck LiMandri

The drag show put on by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride group at the University of San Diego went off as planned on Wednesday even though some questioned whether it was an appropriate event for a Catholic college.

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Outside University Center, supporters of the show stood nearby holding signs with rainbows and slogans like "USD Pride." Nearby, a small group of students knelt down and prayed in quiet protest as the show began.

"I don't agree with them," said Mackenzie Gilchrist, who was there to support the show. "It's hurtful, but they have every right to be out here just like us."

The controversial show was off-limits to all but the 200 people who claimed the free tickets that were gone in less than 10 minutes. The media was not allowed inside.

After the show, performer and student "Ginger Snap" said the show was a huge success.

"I am so proud of my school," said the student. "It's a historic day for USD."

The drag show drew the ire of at least one local alumnus, who is pulling his 19-year-old son out of USD because he feels the drag show represents a break from Catholic values.

"It's really kind of an endorsement and promotion of cross-dressing and issues related to sexual morality which are not consistent with Catholic teaching," said San Diego attorney Chuck LiMandri. "If one student goes there and is exposed to something that is going to lead him away from our Catholic values and our beliefs, OK, then we're defeating the very reason the university is there."

He added, "It's not a spiritually uplifting event."

LiMandri claims state law AB887, which prohibits discrimination, does not apply to events like the drag show. He told 10News the law does not require the promotion, endorsement or encouragement of behavior that contradicts Catholic morals and values.

LiMandri tried to pull the curtain on the show and claimed to have collected more than 7,600 signatures on a petition opposing the show.

Others did not see it that way.

"There is nothing wrong with having a drag show at USD because what it is, it's the LGBT community expressing themselves as they feel comfortable doing so," said ASB president Anthony Pavlovic, who happens to be gay. "It's these people who might ground their bigotry in prayer that are the ones that attack us, but that doesn't make sense because we know that we're a member of this human family and all that we're trying to do is show each other who we are."

Students said the show was sold out. They hope to make it an annual tradition.

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