Since 2012, Western Michigan University’s office of LGBT student services has made it a priority to help all students feel at home on campus by extending Fall Welcome to include an event that provides entertainment and information to the LGBTQ+ community.
Walking in through the doors of the WMU Multicultural center, there was an abundance of color as booths were set up by different groups from on and around campus. Among them were the College Democrats, Peace Jam, and No Strings Attached.
The 7th annual Fall Fab Fest focused itself around a small group setting in order to help it’s attendees to not feel overwhelmed.
“We try to keep it [welcoming] as a house,” said Nathan Nguyen, director of LGBT Student Services at WMU and organizer of the event. “It’s a way for students to see how welcoming our campus is.”
The event provided information on services and opportunities for LGBT students on campus and resources that are available to them. One such resource was Gryphon Place, a center to help those undergoing crisis or conflict.
“There were a lot of times I wish there was a crisis line,” said Bry Books, a representative from Gryphon Place and a Western graduate reminiscing on her time as a student. “Crisis is such a personal thing, it can be big or small.”
As well as an abundance of information, there was a lively line-up for the entertainment including taco makings and a shirt raffle, but the main event was the drag show.
The show was emceed by a very charismatic drag queen, Irita B. Syndrome, who at one point performed a one-queen rendition of the duet ‘Shallow’ from ‘A Star Is Born’ that involved and inflatable swan. It was an immediate hit with the audience.
The show even brought out Oliver Woodstock who was named Miss(ter) Kalamazoo Pride 2019 to perform an impressive version of ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ from ‘Mulan’ and it became apparent through his energy just how he earned that title.
This year’s festivities had a full turnout which, according to Nguyen, stands on par with previous years.
“Attendance is about the same roughly as previous years,” said Nguyen. Nguyen is proud of the consistent attendance at the event by both students and organization representation.