Miss Gay Arkansas Newsletter
Blog number 2… is it really that time again?! It has already been almost 2 months since I was crowned, and in that time I have been honored to wear the crown in 32 shows and travel with her almost 5,000 miles! It truly has been a whirlwind, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.
In this past month alone, I was able to attend the University of Arkansas Alumni Brunch, which raises scholarship money for those in the LGBT+ community, attend a Pride Fundraiser in Batesville’s first ever drag show, represent Arkansas America in the Fort Smith Pride Pageant, and ride in the Central Arkansas Pride Parade as well as perform between both stages. In each of these events, I was able to meet and talk with so many incredible people from unique backgrounds and upbringings–both LGBT+ and ally alike–and see them all come together for a common good. These have been some of the most heart-warming experiences I have ever had, and I am honored for them to have been a part of my life. Don’t get me wrong: I have attended many pride events and community fundraisers in my time, but it is a different experience altogether when attending as Miss Gay Arkansas. I have always been vocal in the fact that as performers, we are leaders in our community whether we know it or not. We are visible to the community, and what we do makes a difference; one only has to look at the incredible role performers have had in the history of LGBT+ advocacy to know this is true. If you recall from my last blog post, drag shows were a massive part of my coming out story. But even beyond being a leader as a drag queen, being Miss Gay Arkansas is a new level of its own – it extends well beyond the stage.
The past month has been a time of considerable reflection on what I want to portray as our state’s 50th Symbol of Excellence. In that time I have come up with three values that I want to portray over the next 10 months of my reign: Compassion, Professionalism, and Forward-Thinking.
- Compassion. I must say, there was something that struck my heart in a powerful way during
Central Arkansas Pride when taking pictures of so many from the community. I think there are
many times when we as individuals focus on our own specific needs and struggles, and often don’t get the opportunity to really listen and learn from other groups. For instance, I can spout gay history and gay rights progress all day long, but trans issues are something I have dedicated myself to learning more about. Seeing all the trans youth at the pride pageant live openly and with acceptance by everyone surrounding them gave me so much hope and even more pride in my community. It is important for us as a community to have compassion for what those surrounding us go through. And to remember that not everyone is alike, that what you see on the outside is not always what is happening on the inside, and that we must approach every experience with an open mind and compassion.
- Professionalism. “We’re all in this together” *Queue the chorus line from High School Musical*. We all have jobs, daily responsibilities, families, friends, and more that we juggle daily. That is the case for me, on top of being a performer and a titleholder. This is why it is important to me over the coming year, to focus heavily on professionalism. This includes professionalism in communication, events, appearances, shows, preliminaries and more. And with professionalism comes a sense of respect for others, and what others may have going on, along with a focus on open, honest communication. This is a goal of mine to continue through the coming 10 months and beyond.
- Forward-Thinking. This one is important! We have made it 50 years y’all. Miss Gay Arkansas has been around to see the ups and downs and is still standing – now we move on towards the next 50 years. As with everything in life, change is constant, and we must do our best to keep up with what’s new, while staying true to our core values. Drag is art, and art is subjective, timeless, thought-provoking, emotion driven, and so many more adjectives I don’t have room to list in a blog post! But most importantly, art is not static. This fact is why it is so important to me over the next several months to continue advancing a forward-thinking view of our system, while always honoring the legacy from which it was born and evolved. This will be a factor across many aspects of my reign, from preliminaries, performances, appearances, and fashion.
I am SO beyond excited for what’s to come: all the things we are going to accomplish together and the difference we can make as a community! I want to end with this – a quote by Laverne Cox that I came across a few weeks ago has stuck with me a lately, especially through all the pride events: “When you put love out in the world it travels, and it can touch people and reach people in ways we never even expected.”
Until next time,
Miss Gay Arkansas America 2022
#ArkansassCrown #MGAR2022 #50YearsOfLegacy