UM’s DragOut Raises Funds for Youth Homelessness

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Photo courtesy of Johann A. Ali

The University of Miami held its fifth annual DragOut 2018, a student, staff, and faculty drag competition and charity fundraiser, on Thursday, Feb. 15.

The event was hosted by Miami drag entertainer Tiffany Fantasia and featured professional drag queens (and for the first time ever, a king) from Miami Beach and throughout South Florida. Competitors showed off their skills in singing, dancing, lip-syncing and other performances while in drag. Kings, queens and non-binary people faced judgement from a panel of UM faculty and staff. The winner received a $150 Rathskeller gift card.

This year, half of the net profit generated from the event will go to The Alliance for GLBT Youth, a local nonprofit dedicated to fostering pride and combatting youth homelessness in Miami-Dade schools.

A spokesperson for UM said all of the “generous donations and tips to our student performers will go towards our goal of helping The Alliance foster pride and combat youth homelessness in Miami-Dade schools.”

Johann Ali, a UM alumnus, helped sponsor the event in an effort to “show our students that their alumni stand with them and are there for them.” Ali is currently working with the UM Alumni Association to try to get the LGBTQ ‘Canes Affinity Group off the ground and up and running fully. He said it made him “really proud that they chose The Alliance for GLBT Youth as a beneficiary.”

“I personally give to The Alliance every year, and a fellow alumnus and friend, Manny Tejeda, is the chair of the board,” Ali said. “I myself am on the board of OUT Miami Foundation, another nonprofit in Miami seeking to engage the young professional LGBTQ professional community in philanthropy. So for me, this choice by SpectrUM was a wonderful surprise to learn as a sponsor.”

Speaking on Fantasia as the hostess of this year’s DragOut, Ali says the veteran drag queen “continues to inspire, entertain and just make us all happy while doing so much good — in this case being a pillar for our LGBTQ young people and doling out some good advice too!”

“I have known Tiffany for some time now, and she is someone I admire for her frankness, for ‘keeping it real’ and for setting people right when they make poor assumptions,” Ali said. “She has continued to bring light, love and laughter, despite going through some rough things of her own, and that has deepened my admiration of her even more. She has been a partner with SpectrUM since the beginning of DragOut’s opening up to the community and gives freely of her time and talent to ensure a wildly successful event. I simply cannot thank her enough for that.”

Thursday’s DragOut was free and open to all students, staff and faculty of the University of Miami.

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