By Laura Latzko, April 9, 2015.
As part of another annual Phoenix Pride tradition, three drag kings and seven drag queens, representing different community bars and organizations, took the stage of Comerica Theatre March 22 in hopes of being crowned the next Miss or Mister Phoenix Gay Pride.
Leading up to the pageant, the contestants raised a combined total of more than $10,000 for the Phoenix Pride Scholarship Program, and according to Justin Owen, Phoenix Pride executive director, the organization will award $30,000 in scholarships this year.
Each contestant’s individual fundraising total and points from personal interview (which was conducted prior to the pageant) were combined with their scores in onstage question, eveningwear and talent categories to determine their final scores.
After the panel of judges, which included a wedding planner, pageant promoters and former titleholders from Phoenix Pride pageants as well as systems, tallied up all final scores, it was former Miss AGRA Trixxie Deluxxe and newcomer Dee Jae Galaxy that earned the 2015 Miss and Mister Phoenix Gay Pride crowns, respectively.
Galaxy succeeds his drag father, Eddie Broadway, as Mister Phoenix Gay Pride, and Deluxxe succeeds Barbra Seville as Miss Phoenix Gay Pride.
The pageant, co-hosted by Olivia Gardens, Aimee V. Justice and Afeelya Bunz, included performances by Broadway, Seville, Coco St. James and Nevaeh McKenzie.
In the drag king portion of the pageant, Galaxy won in the fundraising category, Jack Jack took the onstage question category and Osiris Diazz was the first alternate. The Krazzy Latinos also received an award.
In the drag queen portion of the pageant, Saellah VI won the evening gown category, and Mishal Mishal took the talent category for an Annie Lennox mix with seven backup dancers.
The newly crowned titleholders become ambassadors for Phoenix Pride and the LGBT community while they continue to raise money for, and bring awareness to, the scholarship fund throughout their reign.
Miss Phoenix Gay Pride Trixxie Deluxe
For community members involved in the rodeo world, Trixxie Deluxxe isn’t a new name. Also known as Marcos Sandoval, Deluxxe served the community as Miss AGRA in both 2011 and 2012.
And according to Deluxxe, her reason behind entering the Phoenix Gay Pride Pageant was for a new way to serve and fundraise for the community.
“Being part of AGRA and Phoenix Pride, those are community-based organizations and pageants,” she said. “I really enjoy [representing them] because it is a chance to give back to a community that has embraced me.”
For Deluxxe, “pride” is deeply rooted in giving back to others.
“Pride is community, respect for each other, showing respect and just loving your community that you live in,” she said. “You want to make it a better place for yourself, your friends and the people that you love.”
Deluxxe, who started doing drag in 2007, credits her drag family – the D’Angelo drag family – and mentors in the community with helped her to grow as a performer and person.
“I’m a lot more confident, definitely. I used to be a little shyer than I am now, and I’m just able to make better choices,” Deluxxe said of her career evolution. “[Drag has] helped me in life also; I do a lot of speaking in front of women for different events throughout the U.S., and sometimes I have 200 to 500 women that I’m speaking in front of. So you’ve got to have confidence.”
That confidence as served her well, as she regularly performs big ballad numbers by such singers as Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross and Christina Aguilera. However, for this pageant, she performed a Mariah Carey mix that included “Emotions” and “Hero,” complete with seven backup dancers.
“I just wanted to do something I felt comfortable with. In a competition, you’d rather be comfortable on stage, otherwise the judges can really see it,” she said. “You’ve got to be really confident in your choices and really know what style works for you.”
When asked during the onstage question portion about what community means to him, Sandoval spoke about love, respect, family and assisting others in need.
As Miss Gay Phoenix Pride 2015, Deluxxe hopes to become more involved with youth and HIV/AIDS organizations. And, during her reign, she would like to take a tour of Arizona as the new Phoenix Gay Pride titleholder, traveling to such cities as Flagstaff and Tucson.
Mister Phoenix Gay Pride Dee Jae Galaxy
Following in his drag father’s footsteps, Dee Jae Galaxy – also known as MK Underwood – hopes his reign as Mister Phoenix Gay Pride will provide him with more opportunities to give back to the community.
“Eddie has done so many things in this past year, and watching him do it has been such an inspiration to me,” Galaxy said. “I know I can step up, I know that I can fill his shoes [and] I know that I can continue his legacy.”
Galaxy hopes to be a role model for and help youth at one n ten, the organization he said helped him at the lowest point in his life – after being kicked out of the house after coming out of the closet at 17.
“I knew I had to reach out to someone. I didn’t even know any gay people back then … all that I was taught was ‘gay’ was something bad and was a sin,” Galaxy said. “[one n ten] gave me strength when I needed it, and now that I’m in a position where I can do the same, I have to.”
Galaxy grew up in a large Catholic family and attended Xavier College Preparatory.
“There’s so many LGBT youth who struggle with who they are and their identity. That’s something I definitely struggled with,” Galaxy said. “Being at Xavier as a queer kid was very difficult. I was not accepted at all. I was definitely the odd one out. I found my comfort in one n ten, I found my comfort in my community.”
According to Galaxy, the first time he went to one n ten was the first time he didn’t feel like the odd one out – a feeling he believes all LGBT youth should experience.
“I felt normal, and that feeling alone gave me such a feeling of release. It makes me sad that there are kids who’ve never had that sense of release,” Galaxy said. “I feel that it’s my obligation to make it easier for LGBTQ youth.”
Galaxy started to do drag about five years ago, at age 18, performing in amateur drag shows in Tucson while attending University of Arizona. He moved back to the Valley three years ago, said he began taking drag more seriously within the past year.
“The reason I wanted to go for Phoenix Gay Pride is because this is my home; this is my community,” he said. “It has done so much for me … this is my time to give back.”