by Gaysha Starr -
Special to the SGN
The Imperial Sovereign Court of Tacoma hosted the 40th Annual Mr., Miss, & Ms. Gay Washington Pageant last Saturday night at the La Quinta Tacoma. Stepping down was Mr. Gay Washington 2009 from Everett, Matt Surreal Caché, and from Pasco, Miss Gay Washington 2009, Roxanne Von Cummins.
The pageant was attended by a little over 100 guests and was co-hosted by Mr. Gay Washington 1996 Rob Surreal, Miss Gay Washington 1985 Marcy Kraft, and Miss Gay Washington 1994 Madison Lane.
Having attended this pageant since 1995 and being a former Miss Gay Washington in 1996, it was very interesting to see how much has changed in even 15 years. Aside from the obvious in the drag artistry and performance numbers, what struck me is how much the social issues and causes have changed with the Gay Washington titleholders.
Last year, when Roxanne stepped up as Miss Gay Washington 2009, her platform was marriage equality. Out of drag, Roxanne is also known as Brian Griffith, and he was able to spend part of his year working with the Referendum 71 campaign for protecting domestic partnership laws in Washington state. He served as the Tri-Cities contact and organized the weekly phone bank campaigns in his area.
When asked about how she felt about her reign, Roxanne commented, "2009 was an amazing year. I'm proud of our state and I'm proud of our community. We re-affirmed the rights of ALL families to be safe and protected, and I was proud to have been a part of that."
There were three contestants that ran for this year's title. Competition for Miss Gay Washington was between Seattle's Ifeelya Cummins and Vancouver's Rhea Range. Running unopposed for the Ms. Gay Washington was Tacoma's Sir Awesome. There was no one who ran for the title of Mr. Gay Washington.
There were five competition categories, with the first starting the night before with a judge's interview. The night of the actual pageant, the three contestants participated in an All-White After Six Presentation, Evening Wear, Talent, and Impromptu Questions competitions. The five judges ranged from business owners to leather titleholders.
In between each category there were special guest spots from across the state and Oregon, and anniversary performances from former Gay Washington titleholders. Some of the best performances were from Miss Gay Washington 1984 Coco Vaughn, Miss Gay Washington 2006 Athena Kiss, Imperial Princess 13 of Tacoma, Divonne Lexington, and the reigning Miss Gay Oregon, Adrienne Alexander.
A few other highlights of the evening were when Mr. Gay Washington 2008 Ryan Surreal presented two checks totaling over $3,200 to two nonprofits in Spokane and Tacoma on behalf of his continued fundraising, the banter between the three emcees - especially when I got Mr. Gay Washington Rob Surreal to buy $100 worth of drinks for the thirsty crowd - and an impressive buffet.
At the end of the five-hour pageant, Ifeelya Cummins was crowned Miss Gay Washington and Sir Awesome was crowned Ms. Gay Washington. They will spend their reign making public appearances, fundraising, and performing community service.
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