School may be out of session, but it is nevertheless set to be a busy first weekend of June at Grinnell College in Iowa.

On the itinerary: a college reunion drag show that “encapsulates the lasting spirit of Grinnell: a celebration of diversity with a commitment to social justice.” Also on the itinerary: a CNN town hall with former South Carolina Gov Nikki Haley, who is running for the Republican nomination for president.

Grinnell, an elite liberal arts college with an acceptance rate hovering just above 10 per cent, has long been a stop for presidential candidates hoping to win over young support at the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus. The timing of the drag show and town hall was first noted by Grinnell alum and reporter Ben Jacobs.

But the side-by-side scheduling of the annual drag show with Ms Haley’s town hall is striking at a time when the Republicans have made opposition to drag performances and the transgender community more broadly legislative priorities in states across the country.

Ms Haley, who served as former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, has made criticism of transgender representation part of her stump speech on the campaign trail — taking aim at Bud Light’s shortlived advertising deal with the trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

It remains to be seen how CNN will handle the town hall, which is set to be hosted by Jake Tapper. The network took heavy criticism for its decision to provide a similar platform to Mr Trump earlier this month given the former president’s proclivity for lying and role in the assault on American democracy in 2021, and took more criticism for inviting an audience-friendly to Mr Trump to watch the event.

Ms Haley is not nearly as controversial a figure. The former governor is pitching herself as a younger, more polished alternative to Mr Trump and criticised Gov Ron DeSantis of Florida on Wednesday morning as a copy of the former president.

The town hall with Ms Haley will come at the end of Grinnell’s reunion weekend, which brings alumni from across the generations back to the college’s central Iowa campus.

Iowa does not have a ban on public drag performances like Tennessee passed earlier this year, but a bill introduced in the state Senate in February would ban minors from attending drag shows of any kind. It has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Iowa’s Republican presidential caucus is set to kick off the primary season on January 22 of next year.

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