It’s hard to believe that it’s been 6 months since I was crowned Miss Gay USofA. A dream that was forged in the fires of my youth, almost lost to the ravages of time, and now here I am half way through the year of something I always dreamed I would achieve.
Time is so fleeting, with our busy schedule’s, it’s rare that we get to sit and take in each moment, to enjoy each accomplishment before the next challenge arises.
So, what have we accomplished so far?
Since May, we have added 6 new preliminaries to the Miss Gay USofA division. We have welcomed new royalty to our USofA family legacy with the crowning of Victoria St James, Sasha Lauren, Dakota Whitney and Desi M. Andrews strengthening the 9 divisions under USofA Pageants LLC. I have traveled to so many amazing places and in that time, we have updated with modern advances in technology via social media, final night stage video capabilities, a groundbreaking video documentary series about my win and national tour as Miss Gay USofA…and we haven’t even gotten to the App yet! Yes, we have made some amazing advances and updates…but we have also gotten back to our roots by diving back into the communities in which we serve.
We are entertainers first and foremost. We love what we do, the rush and the joy of being on stage, the showgirl, the rock star, it’s your canvas to paint. We bring emotion to the masses with our art to forget their troubles and woes, if only for 5 minutes. But with that ability, and spotlight…comes responsibility. Your passion, your dreams, your drag, your art is needed now more than ever. Your voice, influence and leadership is needed now more than ever. We moved mountains advancing LGBTQ rights over the past 8 years but that is all about to come to an abrupt end. The new administration taking shape under Trump has a terrifying track record of anti LGBTQ policies and positions including support of conversion therapy, defunding AIDS research, repealing hate crimes protections and gay marriage, instating gay adoption bans and vilifying the transgender community as bathroom boogeymen just to name a few. A lot of people are scared right now about their future and what America will become under this new establishment. This is not something you can hide from. Things are about to change in a dramatic way and we need to be informed and prepared to face whatever challenges may come.
So, what can you do to prepare and protect you and your loved ones?
GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING
Whether it’s a living will, adoption, marriage, hospital visitation, power of attorney, or who gets your gown collection after a shady queen throws you down a flight of stairs, make sure you have it in writing. You never know when you or your loved ones will need to provide documentation. This is especially true in family situations that may not be so accepting of an LGBTQ family member or relationship.
HANDLE YOUR BUSINESS DOCUMENTS
This goes especially for my trans brothers and sisters. If you’ve been putting off getting your name or gender marker changed on your documents or getting that passport, the time is NOW. Laws vary from state to state so check with your local DMV, LGBTQ center or state run websites for complete information. If you happen to live in a state where you cannot have your gender marker changed you can still have it changed on your passport which takes sometimes months to get back so the sooner the better.
In communities across the country there are organizations that work tirelessly to advance equal rights, fight anti LGBTQ discrimination, and provide housing and support for LGBTQ youth. Here in Nashville, I work on the board of The Tennessee Equality Project that was founded in 2005 to provide educational programs to advance the values of equality and inclusion for LGBT people. They are there on the front lines lobbying for LGBTQ rights on the local and state level day in and day out. I also have spent time with a local LGBTQ Youth safe space called Oasis that works to create a loving community where all young people are safe, valued, connected with caring adults, and prepared for productive and fulfilling lives. The work is out there if you are ready to answer the call.
Sometimes performing something as simple as a smile, word of gratitude or small act of kindness can vastly change someone’s, mood, day or even life. Maybe even your own. Pay it forward.
I want to end this on positive notes by sending a huge congrats to the new Miss Gay Illinois USofA, Heavenly Rose and 1 st alternate Jerica Diamond on their way to Miss Gay USofA in May. Thank you to the promoters, formers and good people of southern IL for showing me a great time! I also must wish a very Happy Birthday to our CEO, the Big Daddy B, Mr. Jerry Bird! I can’t say enough good things about how lovely this man has been to me and how thankful I am for his humor, guidance, and support. To many more!
Your next 2 chances to qualify for Miss Gay USofA are Dec 4 th in Dallas, TX for Miss Gay Fire & Ice USofA and December 15 th in Nashville for Miss Gay Tennessee USofA.
January is also jam packed with preliminaries to Miss Gay USofA!
Jan 8 th – Miss Gay Lonestar USofA
Jan 14 th – Miss Gay Gulf Coast USofA
Jan 20 th -21 st Miss Gay Colorado USofA
Jan 27 th – Miss Gay California USofA
Jan 28 th – Miss Gay Arkansas USofA
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with love, happiness and hope. Spread as much as you can.
Miss Gay USofA
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