Texas Christian U offers 'Queer Art of Drag' course teaching 'gender binary' is white supremacy

TCU's Frog Fountain is located in the campus commons area across from the Brown-Lupton University Union in Fort Worth, Texas.
TCU's Frog Fountain is located in the campus commons area across from the Brown-Lupton University Union in Fort Worth, Texas. | Wikimedia Commons/Amymay52/Public Domain

Texas Christian University is offering a course on creating a drag persona in which the culmination of the class is a performance in the university's annual drag show. 

Texas Christian University will offer "The Queer Art of Drag" course during the 2023-'24 school year through its Women and Gender Studies Department. The syllabus listing the weekly assignments and student expectations states that students will create their personas through a "drag vision board," engage in self-reflection and assemble a collage of images to gain inspiration. 

Students must also read commentaries such as "The Gender Binary Is a Tool of White Supremacy" by Kravitz Marshall. 

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TCU's Maria von Clapp reads AIDS poetry on Dec. 1, 2021.
TCU's Maria von Clapp reads AIDS poetry on Dec. 1, 2021. | YouTube/TCU Women and Gender Studies

Nino Testa, the course instructor, has a drag persona of his own named Maria von Clapp. According to the school's website, the professor's focus areas include queer theory and activism, as well as "LGBTQ history and culture." 

Those who take the course will also write a "drag bibliography," finding eight to 10 articles "about the people, performers, aesthetics, movements, politics, ideas, or communities." Students enrolled in the class will also create a lip-sync performance to share with the class and participate in a live group number on the night of the Spectrum Drag Show

The syllabus also describes a "drag worksheet" that students must fill out throughout the semester that contains "elements of your drag persona." As part of the "drag worksheet," students are asked to "name your drag persona," "describe your drag persona," design a "drag greeting" and "strike a pose." 

Each student must "produce a one-to-two-minute solo drag performance to be recorded, edited, and shared with an open audience at TCU’s Annual Night of Drag on April 21." 

Texas Christian University did not respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.

"The Department of Women & Gender Studies, in collaboration with community partners at the Gender Resource Office, The End, Spectrum, Westside Unitarian Church, local drag performers, and LGBTQ organizations in Fort Worth, has produced a series of opportunities to develop campus vocabulary and understanding of drag history and practice," TCU's website states about the course.

The university's website includes links highlighting other ways the school promotes drag, including footage of its April 2022 Annual Night of Drag and a 2019 Critical Drag Symposium, which "focused on drag as a critical performance practice."  

Though TCU boasts about its affiliation with the Disciples of Christ denomination on its website, the university has more than 60 religious traditions represented on campus. The Religious and Spiritual Life community also advises more than 22 student religious organizations. 

"TCU's foundation is built on pursuing knowledge for the greater good," the website reads. "Our historic covenant with the Disciples of Christ informs our roots as a liberal arts college, valuing others' perspectives during the educational journey." 

As CP previously reported in August 2016, TCU offered students three credit hours if they interned with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. In a now-deleted post by Students for Life of America, the pro-life youth activist organization revealed that the History Department had sent an email to students promoting the internship. 

During the internship, a student or students would work to "develop a project highlighting [Planned Parenthood's] history in Fort Worth since it was established here in 1935."

"Their office ... about 15 minutes from campus, has a substantial archival collection of photographs, scrapbooks, and other materials," the TCU email obtained by SFLA read. "There are also opportunities for oral history, interviewing local families who have long been involved in support of PP."

SFLA President Kristan Hawkins said in a statement at the time that "it is a disgrace for a large Christian university to offer credit for an internship at the largest abortion provider in the nation."

"Instead of educating and equipping students on how to persuasively discuss the pro-life viewpoint and help women in crisis, they instead reward students for spending valuable time volunteering for an organization that ends the lives of over 325,000 innocent human beings a year," Hawkins said. "And just think of the parents who thought their child would be receiving a valuable Christian-focused education at a private school. They are paying over $53,500 a year to be swindled."

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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