SAN DIEGO – A two-hour drag show hosted recently at the Catholic University of San Diego ended with a devilish finale – its transvestite host came onstage in a long black robe and horned headdress and sung about how evil should triumph over good.
“All of a sudden the stage is dark, and the lights come up behind a screen and you see a shadow outline of a demonic figure, with a head and two horns, and it gets closer and grows bigger,” said San Diego resident Thomas McKenna, 51, who witnessed the performance. “Then a person in a black robe comes out onstage and starts singing the song and doing all these antics.”
That person was “Tootie Nefertootie,” the emcee of the April 10 event, who took off the robe after a few minutes to reveal a skin-tight dress as he continued to dance onstage and sing about evil – specifically he lip-synced “Good N’ Evil” from the musical Jekyll and Hyde.
McKenna, in an interview Wednesday with The College Fix, said some have likened the outfit not to the devil but rather to the evil character “Maleficent” from an upcoming Disney movie of the same name.
“Whatever – to see this person with horns on and singing about evil triumphing over good, I found it very strange and unsettling to see that onstage in a Catholic university,” McKenna said.
The lyrics of the song “Good N’ Evil” include the stanzas: “Evil is everywhere – Good doesn’t have a prayer; Good is commendable; Evil’s dependable; Evil is viable – Good’s unreliable; Good may be thankable – Evil is bankable.”
University of San Diego officials did not respond to phone calls, emails or a text Wednesday from The College Fix to speak on the content of this year’s drag show.
Now in its third year, the annual “Celebration of Gender Expression – Supreme Drag Superstar” at the university is organized by PRIDE, the private college’s LGBTQ campus group. The annual event prompts protests by students and local residents who call it an aberration to Catholicism’s values.
McKenna, founder and president of Catholic Action, a nonprofit advocacy group that upholds and defends Catholic principles, said he has attended the show every year since its inception to investigate its content and demand that it be put to a stop.
In fact, his group was successful in getting the Vatican’s Congregation for Education to write a letter in December 2013 calling the drag show a “scandal” and vowing to take administrative steps to end it.
None have been launched yet, McKenna said.
Numerous petitions from other organizations have also been started in opposition to the show, including one from TFP Student Action this year that has garnered nearly 15,000 signatures.
Charles LiMandri, president and chief counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, said Wednesday in an interview with The College Fix that the drag show is bad enough, but this latest demonic-themed finale is inexcusable.
“People posting comments on Catholic Education Daily (which first reported the story) are saying that it’s a take off of Maleficent, which is a Disney character, but she is the personification of evil,” said LiMandri, who is an alumnus of the University of San Diego. “I don’t care what you want to call it – Satan or her – they’re glamorizing evil.”
McKenna said he attends the events and shares what he observes because “everyone keeps saying, ‘Oh, it couldn’t be that bad.’ This will give a taste of what is going on.”
Dr. Lori Watson, director of women’s and gender studies at the university, said in an interview with The College Fix last year that while protestors have every right to lodge their concerns, PRIDE has every right to host the event on campus.
She acknowledged the University of San Diego is a Catholic college, but she said dogma doesn’t trump all else.
“The university is not a church,” she said. “Its mission is not to indoctrinate students to a particular viewpoint. We have students of all faiths represented on this campus. … Our mission is primarily educational.”
She added the university’s mission statement “expresses a commitment to the value of inclusivity and respect for all humans.”
Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.
IMAGES: Top – “Legend” (Youtube screenshot); Inside: Courtesy photo provided to The College Fix from USD drag show April 10.