Saint Lucia is hosting the first-ever gay beauty pageant, dubbed Miss Gay Universe, on Friday, December 4 at the Golden Palm Conference Centre in Rodney Bay.
The Las Vegas-themed pageant is organized by Sharmark Leon and will speak to the issue of human rights. Leon told The STAR that when he conceptualized the event, he did not want to put on just another pageant but to stage something with more depth and meaning.
Seven delegates will participate in the pageant, representing countries from around the world. The contestants are Rubella Belle Jour – Miss Saint Lucia, Sahara West – Miss France, Aaliyah Fierce – Miss Brazil, Dae Ja Davenport – Miss Canada, Anousqua Queer – Miss Jamaica, Roxanne Edwards – Miss USA and Sasha Amelia Fierce – Miss Egypt.
So far Leon says things are going according to plan although one of the biggest challenges has been getting the contestants to be more courageous and to raise their self-esteem ahead of the big night. “We are fully aware of the anti-gay sentiments in our society, although I do not think it is as bad as it was before,” he says. “But I still think it intimidates some persons who want to come out,” Leon says. He believes the show is another small step towards bringing to the fore the issues of human rights. “You do not have to like me or to like what I do, but we live in a society where we simply need to respect each other and respect and recognize our rights and freedoms,” Leon says.
Sharmark Leon believes that by staging this event, more persons will be empowered to come out, accept who they are and allow others to accept them as well. So far organizers say the response for the event has been very good and they expect a large turnout at the venue next Friday.
A number of popular and formidable dress-makers and designers will be adorning the contestants with their pieces on the night. The evening is expected to start off with an opening number and introduction of contestants, a swimsuit segment, a costume segment depicting a night in Las Vegas, talent and poise and elegance in evening wear, and interview segment.
Tickets for the event are available at Sharmark Designs on Cadet Street and at the United and Strong Headquarters.