City College’s first campus drag show to celebrate transgender visibility

The Trans Excellence show marks the International Day of Transgender Visibility


The Pride Hub, located in L206, will host City’s first drag show on March 23, 2023 at noon. Photo by Marco Guajardo/City Times Media

Marco Guajardo, Multimedia Journalist

The sun wasn’t shining on March 21, the day Madame Brazil Noreaga was touring the San Diego City College campus, but she wasn’t going to allow a rainy cloudy day conceal her presence.

Visibility was the reason for the veteran drag performer’s presence at City College. Obstructive impediments are a thing she’s learned to successfully resolve.

The vibrant, bedazzled pageant sash she draped across her body while on campus that day read “Miss Trans,” a symbolic accessory to the eye-catching grace and defiance Madame Brazil displayed as she navigated both the overcast labyrinth of campus and more generally the socio-political landscape that imposes itself upon her right to exist as a trans woman.

Madame Brazil was invited to travel from Texas by the Student Health Center’s Nursing-Mental Health Liaison Tristan Sotomayor to perform in City College’s first drag show on March 23.

Sotomayor saw Trans Day of Visibility approaching this March 31 while the City campus is on spring break. He set out to coordinate with and invite four veteran drag performers for the celebration while classes are still in session.

Titled “Trans Excellence,” the drag event will feature the four trans performers and advocates who will follow up their acts with a meet-and-greet panel with the public. It will be held at Pride Hub in L206 from noon to 2 p.m.

The Student Health Center with City College’s Pride Hub are inviting the entire campus community to enjoy the observance of Trans Day of Visibility.

The “Trans Excellence” theme aims to “celebrate, uplift and empower folks, not only in the LGB community, but in the trans community specifically, and bring visibility and empowerment,” Sotomayor said.

“Performing and drag shows have been a big outlet and a big place where we can all connect, let loose and be free,” said Sotomayor, who is trans. “ I’m really excited for us to have a space and I know some of the students and other faculty are really excited.”

Sotomayor points out that traditionally a lot of freedom has come in the form of movement in the trans-femme community. 

Madame Brazil said the art of drag was transformative amid her developing transition process.

“When I started (doing drag), the energy I felt from the people was different,” Madame Brazil said. “I’ve always been invisible, so at that point, I felt seen for once and it was that that did it for me.”

A meet-and-greet afterward with the four performers intends to provide a space that brings awareness to their experiences, talks about access to healthcare and understands how the current political state is affecting them as trans women.

“We all have different life experiences, however, I feel like the audience is going to be able to take something from all of us,” Madame Brazil said. “ I hope what I can give the audience is strength.”

During the show, Be The Generation, the San Diego LGBTQ Community Center’s comprehensive Sexual Health & Wellness Program that ensures individuals are equipped to take charge of their sexual health and well-being, will be on hand tabling. 

Amid the ever-present societal challenges imposed on the trans community, the historic significance of hosting the first drag show at City College is not lost on Sotomayor. 

“It’s been nice to see the support from our campus community of being like, ‘How can we help out in the event? What can we do?’” Sotomayor said. “I’m really looking forward to the ways (the performers) connect with music and the freedom that our existences can bring.”