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Christian Union: The Magazine
October 27, 2023

School of Public Health at Brown Helps to Host Drag Performance

By erin conner

The emblematic statement that introduces the School of Public Health’s page on Brown University’s website reads, “Standing at the forefront of today's most important public health issues, Brown is spearheading vital initiatives that will shape the future of the field.” 


On October 20-21, 2023, the School of Public Health at Brown University helped to host an event entitled “Decolonize Drag with Professor Kareem Khubchandani.” The poster advertising this event for students shows the professor lying down in a provocative manner. 

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The event’s description posted on Brown University’s web page stated, “Join us for a book n’ brunch with Prof. Kareem Khubchandani, Associate Professor at Tufts University, for a conversation on his most recent book, Decolonize Drag!. Participants will engage in a conversation around gender, decolonization, and drag performance with our guest speaker. This will be an opportunity to further explore themes from his novel, Decolonize Drag! and his “Lessons in Drag” performance from the previous evening. This event will be open to students and food will be provided!” 

A summary of Professor Khubchandani’s book provided to students stated, “As drag enters the mainstream… Decolonize Drag! details the ways that gender is used as a form of colonial governance to eliminate various forms of expression and performance, and tracks how contemporary drag… replicates and disrupts these institutional hierarchies. This book focuses on a variety of gender performers that resist and laugh at colonial projects…” 

These types of events are occurring in a context where almost half of our nation’s college students currently report that “trangender” issues are difficult to discuss openly and honestly on their college campuses, according to the 2024 Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression’s comprehensive free speech climate survey. 

Some other notable findings from this survey include that Harvard University obtained the lowest score possible, 0.00, and is the only school with an “abysmal” speech climate rating. The University of Pennsylvania is also ranked in the bottom five schools across our nation for having a healthy free speech climate. Students from schools in the bottom five were more biased toward allowing controversial liberal speakers on campus over conservative ones and were more accepting of students using disruptive and violent forms of protest to stop a campus speech. Deplatforming attempts that occurred at schools ranked in the bottom five had an alarming 81% success rate. Deplatforming is the act of preventing a person from contributing to a forum or debate who holds views regarded as unacceptable or offensive, thereby censoring them online. As a result, twenty percent of students reported that they often self-censor.  

This comprehensive survey reveals that the culture at many of our nation’s colleges discourages expressions of a conservative and/or Christian worldview while encouraging events such as this one at Brown.

Regardless of the current cultural climate and the subsequent type of events that are encouraged or discouraged at our universities, may Christ’s invitation to all students to come and find life in Him never be silenced.

Christian Union seeks, by God's grace, to serve students at some of our nation’s most influential colleges and universities by equipping them to become transformative leaders and devoted followers of Jesus Christ. 


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