published Saturday, February 21st, 2009

University picks drag queen as homecoming queen

  • photo
    In this photo courtesy of Teddy Meyer/Broadside, Ryan Allen, competing under his drag queen persona of Reann Ballslee, waves to the crowd at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., after being crowned Ms. Mason on Feb. 14, 2009. Allen beat out two women for the homecoming queen title at the 30,000-student George Mason University in suburban Washington, D.C (AP Photo/Teddy Meyer/Broadside)

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — George Mason University senior Ryan Allen dresses in drag and doesn't mind being called a queen — homecoming queen, to be exact.

Allen, who is gay and performs in drag at nightclubs in the region, said he entered the homecoming contest as a joke, competing as Reann Ballslee, his drag queen persona.

But he considers the victory one of his happiest moments and proof that the suburban Washington, D.C., school famous for its run to the Final Four a few years back celebrates its diverse student body.

"I was very touched by how Mason was so supportive through the whole process of allowing a boy in a dress to run for homecoming queen," Allen said in a phone interview. "It says a lot about the campus that not only do we have diversity but we celebrate it."

The senior from Virginia's Goochland County won the pageant Saturday at a sold-out Homecoming basketball game against Northeastern University.

Large portions of the crowd cheered as Allen, wearing a gold-sequined top, accepted the tiara and the Ms. Mason 2009 sash.

The school, known for racial diversity and a basketball team that pulled off a string of upsets to advance to the Final Four in 2006, was selected the nation's top "school to watch" in the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings.

Allen's selection does not appear to have caused much consternation among the school's 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. An online article in the student newspaper prompted only two comments, both positive.

Alyssa Cordova, an officer with the school's College Republicans, said she didn't pay much attention to Allen's election and is suprised by the media attention it has received.

"I just think it's kind of silly," she said.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equity and a former adjunct professor at Mason, said the lack of controversy "shows that the students and the George Mason community have a good sense of perspective."

University spokesman Dan Walsch said the school is "very comfortable" with Allen's selection and the contest rules are not sex-specific.

"It's just that if you're a man who runs for Ms., you've got to dress the part," Walsch said.

The contest was half talent judging and half voting by the student body. Allen received the most votes but doesn't know how he scored in the talent competition, in which he performed in zebra-print pants and lip-synched to Britney Spears.

He said his drag queen persona is fairly popular and well-known on campus — he has hosted events as Reann for the school's Pride Week, as well as HIV charity shows and an amateur drag night cabaret.

"Reann is very sassy, very silly. She's an entertainer throughout. She's not afraid to do a high kick if that's what it takes," Allen said. "She's got a little camp but is not as campy as some queens."

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Jack_Ryan said...

God please help us and bring revival to our nation. Promote purity and holiness among the people in our nation before we fall as a nation in the hands of the enemy. Please Lord, saved those souls that believe in lies of Satan and replace those lies with you truth, so that we may prosper as a people unified under your loving watch. Through Jesus' name I pray Amen.

February 21, 2009 at 8:56 a.m.
Humphrey said...

good for them. if the boy wants to wear a dress why should it bother anybody.

February 21, 2009 at 9:51 a.m.
Tiffo said...

Amen, Jack. God will send revival to America. We just have to keep praying!

February 21, 2009 at 10:26 a.m.
donny said...

thanks jack ryan this is what this country needs down on knees

February 21, 2009 at 11:05 a.m.
mpowell252 said...

TO EACH HIS OWN.

WHY DO YOU CONDONE SOMEONE FOR THEIR PREFERENCE? TWO THINGS; 1- IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING NICE THEN SAY NOTHING AT ALL.

2- DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT YOU SHOULD CAST THE FIRST STONE? YOU HAVEN'T SINNED?

ALL I'M SAYING IS THIS: IF YOU WOULDN'T WANT ANYONE TO JUDGE YOU ON YOUR LIFE AND HOW YOU DO IT. THEN DON'T JUDGE THE OTHER PERSON. YOU WILL NOT BE THE ONE TO STAND IN FRONT OF GOD AND PAY FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S MISTAKES. SO THEREFORE YOU SHOULDN'T WORRY ABOUT IT.

February 21, 2009 at 11:12 a.m.
siszadok said...

Amen, Jack_Ryan!!! I stand in prayer agreement with you. As for mpowell252. We are our brother's keeper and simply don't care only for ourselves but others as well. In addition, none of of us live in a bubble. What one does effects all. Especially, with the Gay Right's movement, who not only ask that we accept them but want our hearty approval, such as giving an award and status for perversion as demonstrated in this article. God have mercy on us all!!!

February 21, 2009 at 11:22 a.m.
rolando said...

Well, Humph, for starters we end up with not only poorly edumacated [sic] "students" but ones who cannot tell the difference between a man and a woman -- and choose not to. They will probably wonder vacantly at some point why their "prom queens" can't get pregnant... Yeah, they are that stupid -- that's a sign of the quality of their education.

On second thought, that is probably a good thing -- it thins out the gene pool.

Fits right in with today's America, I got to say that...

February 21, 2009 at 11:39 a.m.
Humphrey said...

you really believe that - that honestly makes sense to you?

February 21, 2009 at 12:40 p.m.
rolando said...

Tongue in cheek, Humph, tongue in cheek. Sarcasm more than anything else.

Does make one wonder about our schools, though. A cross-dresser -- a guy pretending to be a girl -- for prom queen? Are our schools so far gone the guys are prettier than the girls? I have seen some pretty far gone females here along with some pretty-pretty girly boys, but this seems excessive.

Good Lord save us.

February 21, 2009 at 1:08 p.m.
rolando said...

I am not even going to ask if the prom king danced with his "queen". Or what they did later...

February 21, 2009 at 1:10 p.m.
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