There are those times when I ponder in wonderment, just how did I get here? I seem to fall into the strangest of rabbit holes. This one is a repeat as it is my second time of being given the great honor being on the judges' panel at the San Ignacio Miss Gay Pageant.
This year the organizers, lead by the tenacious ladyboy, and Barrage Council member, the Honorable Miss Cherry Pie, decided to change the program. Instead of a traditional pageant that has many costume changes, talent and oral questions, she decided to make it all about the dresses. The exquisite line of contestants would parade throughout the village in formal attire, passing by all the houses and five of us judges. This is quite a walk in July tropical heat and high heels, not for the faint of heart.
And Heart is what these ladies have, by the ton. I wrote before that I saw them a modern-day Captain Kirks, the young Star Trek cadet. Who faced the impossible situation, the Koybayashi Maru. Instead of facing tragedy, as the test was programmed, he simply changed the program. ( for non Trekies, Cadet Kirk was given the simulator test that had no win, he broke into he simulator and reprogramed the test) That is how I see the Transgender people I have grown to love. They were born with the wrong program, simple as that. But when faced with a life of confusion and shame, they simply changed the program, became what they were intended to be and live happy and proud.
Now add to the courage it must have taken to make this change, the idea of parading around a small, very conservative Catholic village, and ya, in a huge dress and very high heels in tropical heat. That, my friends, takes excuse the pun, balls! Then to be judged for it on top of that.
I had great helpers
So, judges tables ready, streets lined with spectators, the procession began. To announce the gala arrival of the beauties they had a jungle drum group, and some wild jungle looking male dancers. Well me being me, I had to join them for a romp too.
The first lady sashayed by in a stunning pink antique looking frock, she twirled as she passed by. Then another and another, all wearing hand made gowns with lots of hand sewn bead work.
Number 5 had tight fitting red satin Spanish style gown, draping on the ground as she passed, the kind of girl Zoro would love. Then Number 6 came down the street in a fairytale white dress, diamond necklace and large tiara. I could not help but see Glinda the Good Witch of the Wizard of Oz, walking by. She was accompanied by a little boy in matching white get up.
Two more passed as I tried to catch up on my scoring. We were to score 50% for the dress, 30% for poise and grace, and 20% for beauty. It all happened too fast so I cut across to the next street where they would be coming by soon. After my second look I had it down.
winner Brian Calvert Choice Award
The last time I did this there were two of the ten contestants that tugged at my heart the most. One was clearly much older than the others and one a bit chubby. Remember this is a stiff competition which requires a huge amount of preparation, support and expense, those bangles don't come cheap. Both were undaunted by the competition and courageously gave it their all. I made sure they each got one of the minor awards. Coming from that experience this year I sponsored the "Brian Calvert Choice Award" not for the most beautiful outside but the most heart inside. Without the long drawn out program of a traditional pageant this was a bit hard to pick, ah but I went for stamina and made my pick at the end of the procession. After parading about for quite a while some seemed to lose their spark, but not Number 2, not the most beautiful nor slimmest she was still shining and twirling at the end, she was my choice.
Priam giving the winner her award
The awards ceremony drew the entire village, cheers went up as the ladies did their last pass and sat waiting for the scores to be calculated. The tension mounted as the minor awards were handed out, best make up and such. Then the count down, 3rd runner up, 2nd runner up, 1st and then the winner, Number 5. I thought she looked familiar; she won the last one I judged two years ago.
a gracious winner, true beauty
She gave a moving acceptance speech on how it was so great that "people like me" are so accepted and loved here now. This made me drop my head thinking of all the problems back home and how so many people had such bigotry and hate for something they clearly just don't get. There is so much many Americans could learn from these simple, poor, albeit incredibly happy and loving people, so much.