A gay pride organization at Emory University recently held its annual drag show in a Methodist church affiliated with the Atlanta, Georgia, university.
Campus Reform reports Emory Pride, the university's LGBTQ+ group, held the event at Glenn Memorial Chapel to commemorate the conclusion of gay history month, which is separate from gay pride month.
Tom Greenler, a senior attending the school, hosted the event dressed in drag.
Greenler told Campus Reform that "there is something very subversive about hosting a drag show at a church, especially a Methodist church like Glenn Memorial."
"The UMC has officially adopted some anti-LGBT stances in recent years," he continued "but I think it says a lot about Glenn Memorial as an individual church that it has continued to welcome the drag show in their space."
"I personally think it's kind of punk, to be a queer person hosting an unapologetically queer event in a church like this — I feel like this kind of breaking barriers is what drag is all about," Greenler added.
Besides the drag show, hip hop dance performances and a costume contest were also held at the event, according to Campus Reform. The website also noted that during the event, church podiums were covered in transgender and gay pride flags.
Layla Aberman, president of Emory Pride, told The Emory Wheel, the university's student newspaper, "Drag has provided a space for queer expression when homophobia, transphobia, and racism make the world unsafe," and that "Drag is about family."
Emory has long been a supporter of LGBTQ activities. The school's Office of LGBT Life was founded in the fall of 1991, according to the Emory Wheel. The newspaper noted in an article from 2015 that the school had been named as the "most LGBT-friendly school" in Georgia, according to eCollegeFinder.
Campus Reform also noted Glenn Memorial Chapel's history of gay activism. Two years ago, the church's head pastor Mark Westmoreland, wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the Emory Wheel expressing his disagreement with the United Methodist Church's vote to affirm traditional marriage.
"Glenn Memorial and our many allies continue to stand and work with our LGBTQ siblings for full rights and rites," he wrote. "I know change is coming, and I believe it is coming soon."
The church's website includes over 1,200 words dedicated to discussing "racial justice" and "LGBTQI+ inclusion". At the end of its LGBTQI+ inclusion page, it encourages members of its congregation to march in Atlanta's 2021 gay pride parade.