“Alright, I need some volunteers,” said Perón, the featured drag queen in the Condom Fashion Show on Thursday in Alumni Hall.
Perón selected four people from the crowd with the help of the previous performer, Titanium Perón.
Once on stage, each was given a condom and a scale model to put it on.
“The first thing you’re going to do is check the expiration date,” Perón said. “Is it expired? Does it look like it’s been sitting in his wallet for the last 10 years?”
With a humorous attitude and no? microphone, Perón and the volunteers demonstrated how to properly put on a condom, step by step.
“You’d be surprised how many people still don’t know how to do that,” said Julian Glover, assistant chair for the Condom Fashion Show.
Glover said the show dually acted as entertainment and a “sexploration” event.
“We’re trying to promote sex positivity through education about HIV and condom usage, especially among a vulnerable population such as college students,” he said. “It’s essentially a drag show. It’s essentially a fashion show and an education opportunity.”
Many events like this get so dry, Glover said, and they wanted to spice it up.
To draw an audience, Glover said they invited JuJuBee and Sasha Belle, popular competitors on the reality television show RuPaul’s Drag Race, from seasons two and seven respectively.
Glover said JuJuBee is an advocate of HIV prevention and education within the LGBT community.
Between a VIP ticket holder meet-and-greet with the queens and a quick change, JuJuBee said appearing at the Condom Fashion Show keeps the momentum of debunking myths about protection.
“There shouldn’t be a stigma with using protection at all,” she said. “We just have to be safe with it. Love is love, but you know if you’re going to have fun you’ve got to protect it.”
The show was supported by a collaboration of sponsors, including the Greek honor society Eta Sigma Gamma, IU Health Center and the IU GLBT Alumni Association.
Union Board, a sponsor for the fashion show, booked Alumni Hall and provided volunteers to work the event.
Matthew Mervis, director of the Current Topics committee for UB, said the fashion show aligned with the Board’s mission and values.
“The Condom Fashion Show was a great program to sponsor because it raises awareness of those who are affected by HIV/AIDS,” he said in an email. “Promoting our values by unifying campus, the fashion show is a unique way to do so.”
Glover said the collaboration with Union Board and additional sponsors was essential to the show’s success.
“It’s been a labor of love overall,” he said.
Sex-positive organizations promoted safe sex practices with booths in Alumni Hall. Each table was littered with free condoms and a board with information about the organization.
Approximately 6,500 condoms were donated for the show, Glover said, and Trojan Condoms donated approximately 3,000 condoms.
Heather Francis, first year doctorate student and member of Eta Sigma Gamma, said they wanted to dismiss the taboo of talking about safe sex and condom use.
Francis said students should be able to talk about condoms without having the stigma associated with any sort of sexual act.
“Especially one that’s using protection,” she said.
Positive Link, an IU Health program that promotes HIV awareness and prevention, drew students to its booth with a game of STD Roulette.
Students spun a wheel and were quizzed about the sexually transmitted disease it landed on.
Jennifer Cox, an intern with the IU School of Public Health working the booth, said they wanted to reach college students specifically about why it is important to be tested for STDs.
“The earlier you find them, the better you are,” she said.
Upstairs in the Union Board office, Positive Link provided free HIV testing for students.
Monica Miley, a health educator at Positive Link, said they use an oral swab and ask a few personal questions during the test. The results are available within 20 minutes.
“Anyone that’s sexually active should get tested at least once a year,” she said.
Students were excited about being informed in an upbeat environment.
Freshman Mitchel Kasznia said he learned more about safe sex, which was important in a casual sex culture.
“I want to be prepared,” he said.
Kendall Locey, freshman, said the fashion show opened up conversation.
“I don’t think most colleges would do this,” she said. “It’s cool that we have a place where it’s such a safe community for so many people."
This story has been corrected.
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