World AIDS Day Drag Show Returns to JJC

Joliet Junior College’s Office of Student Activities (OSA) recently hosted its first World AIDS Day drag show on JJC’s Main Campus for the first time since 2014.

After employees and community members expressed their interest in the event’s return and students asked OSA about hosting a drag show, OSA manager Amy Kuspa-Sims brought the idea to her department and the College’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group.  

Connor Herrington stands on runway/stage and speaks to drag show attendees
Connor Herrington

“We had all the right people at the table to be able to make the show happen,” said Connor Herrington, student activities specialist with OSA, who volunteered to lead the event and planning committee for the show.

OSA worked with many internal and external organizations to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. Joliet Pride Network helped OSA with casting the show and was one of many groups to have a resource table at the show. Others with resource tables at the event included Agape Missions NFP, the Will County Health Department and JJC’s Pride Alliance student club.

Nearly 100 people attended the show with tickets at $10 apiece. The event raised over $1,200 in ticket sales and tips/donations. According to Herrington, money will be donated to “local community organizations that help with HIV/AIDS prevention and resources,” such as the Will County Health Department and Agape.

“The turnout was great, and everyone loved the show,” Herrington said. “I personally stood at the door thanking everyone for coming, and it was amazing seeing all the smiling faces exiting the building.”

OSA’s awareness for HIV/AIDS doesn’t start or end with the show, though. In partnership with the Will County Health Department, OSA offers free HIV testing every semester on JJC’s Main Campus about twice a month.

“It is very important to bring awareness around HIV/AIDS,” Herrington said. “Providing these opportunities and awareness not only helps people with it but also destigmatizes it as well.”

With the fall semester winding down and winter break approaching, OSA has no free HIV testing until the new year but has no shortage of events planned for 2024, including another World AIDS Day drag show.

“We hope to see everyone back in 2024,” Herrington said.