Science is a Drag

Story/Video posted March 19, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment by Michele Brisco



Jacob Brittingham spends most days in the lab, researching PDX1, the acronym for Pancreatic and Duodenal Homeobox 1, a protein involved in two types of diabetes.

“You come in in the morning, you check your experiment, [and] nine times out of 10 [your experiment] has gone all wrong,” said Brittingham, a third-year grad student. “So, you have to sit down with your lab mates [and] talk about what went wrong.”

Spending hours at a time in the lab, going through test after test, can be stressful.

“One of the things our boss tells us is to have something that isn’t related to science whatsoever, that you can get out all your frustrations,” Brittingham said. “That’s what I do for drag.”

Once a month on a Tuesday night, you can head to Café 210 West to see The State College Queens perform, where Brittingham transforms into Terra Anness.

Drag is not only a stress-relief for Brittingham, but also a form of self-acceptance and support. If he’s feeling “down and out” after his lab work, there’s nothing a little more mascara and a crazy crowd can’t fix.

“[I can] come in the next day and be invigorated ... and say ‘Alright, let’s keep going,’” Brittingham said.

The drag community is much more than a community, though. For Brittingham, it’s a family.

“Yeah, we might be shady on the surface, and we read each other to filth, but in reality, if the queens notice there’s actually something wrong, we are instantly there to support,” Brittingham said.

He plans to create more opportunities for the queens to perform, including the first State College Queens’ Saturday brunch on March 24 at Café 210 West. For now, Brittingham continues to step out of his comfort zone and onto the stage.

“I’m one of those people that, as long as it’s not breaking my morals, I will try it at least once,” Brittingham said. “You never know where that’s going to lead you.”