George Mason University in Virginia elected Ryan Allen, a gay man and a drag queen, as its new homecoming queen. (Video below the jump). Allen ran as "Reann Ballslee" and won the vote conducted via e-mail and announced at halftime of last Sunday's game.
Allen, who is gay and performs as a popular drag queen at local clubs, assumed the title of Ms. Mason. He was wearing a green-and-gold bow, sewn for him by the theater department costume's shop, that was visible even from the cheap seats, a sequined top, a black skirt and heels. Ricky Malebranche, a junior from Woodbridge, was named Mr. Mason.
The school said the contest does not require people to enter along strict gender lines. Allen, 22, said he entered just for fun. Reaction was mixed among students.
"I've never been into homecoming over here. This is the first time I've actually wanted to support someone," said Melissa Benjjani, 21, from Lebanon. "He deserves to be queen. He's already a queen for everybody." ...
"It's really annoying," said Grant Bollinger, who works as an ambassador for the admissions office. "The game was on TV. Everyone was there. All eyes were on us. And we do something like this? It's just stupid."
Allen grew up in a small town in Virginia and told the Washington Post that he endured years of taunts after coming out as a freshman in high school. He blossomed after enrolling at George Mason in 2005 when he started doing drag. I think it's cool that he is the new queen and shows again that tolerance is growing, especially among young people.
Hat tip to Deadspin.