Krista Anderson, PhD, never imagined she would attend a drag show much less work one, but she enjoyed the Ms. Campit Pageant on May 19 and earned pin money for Gender SAFE ( Supporting All For Equality ) by collecting donations in exchange for free beer.
Dr. Anderson provides professional support as a clinical psychologist and facilitator for Gender SAFE in Holland, Michigan, and one of her children is a transgender teenager. The support group was formed almost three years ago, spinning off of PFLAG Holland/Lakeshore to focus specifically on trans and gender nonconformity issues. Group members can attend two meetings a month in Holland, at Out on the Lakeshore, a non-profit LGBTQ community center, and at Grace Episcopal Church. Besides transgender people, group members include allies and "a lot of parents," according to Weldene, a group member in her 70s, who says she never felt comfortable with her birth gender but didn't understand it and only came to terms with her trans identity late in life, after a divorce and lot of personal pain. "Younger people see what's happening," she said.
To help give visibility to the group and encourage donations, an open bar was stocked with beer and sparkling wine by Campit owners Michael O'Connor and Sally Howard. Dr. Anderson confessed that the introverted Gender SAFE team was not ideal donation solicitors. Still, she said, the campers were generous and the group made enough to produce handouts for Holland Pride, June 23, to publicize their support meetings. Instead of aggressively hawking beer, Amber Marie, one of the group's transgender women, was content to watch the show. She was impressed at the dexterity of the drag queens twerking and cavorting about the clubhouse. However, at over 6'2" and worried about standing out, she couldn't see the point of wearing five inch heels.
At the conclusion of the pageant, reigning Ms. Campit 2017 Karina Passion reliquished her crown to Lucy Fyrre-FatalÃƒï¿½© from Detroit. Passion expects to abandon Michigan and her gig at Rumors in Grand Rapids for Chicago soon. Fyrre-FatalÃƒï¿½© won the contest in part for the answer she gave to in the Q&A portion of the contest to a question regarding the California congressional candidate who videotaped herself harassing a transgender woman in a restroom. Fyrre-FatalÃƒï¿½© told the campers, who had paid $15 for the dinner and show, "Everyone needs acceptance. What I like about this place is that everyone can feel safe."