No More Mr. and Ms. Mason; Gender-Neutral ‘Mason Majesty’ to Replace Former Titles

by   Posted on February 15th, 2010 in Uncategorized

Yasmin Tadjdeh, News Editor

This year, not only will the homecoming queen be without a vagina — homecoming will be without a queen.

Starting this year, following last year’s crowning of drag queen Reann Balslee as Ms. Mason, homecoming will no longer have the Mr. and Ms. Mason competition, but will opt for just one winner, known as Mason Majesty.

“We, [being] Student Activities and Program Board, discussed that we wanted to be more inclusive to all persons on campus — no matter how they identify . . . [The removal of the Mr. and Ms. Mason competition] has been in discussion for years,” said Assistant Director of Programming in Student Activities Michelle Davis, noting that it was not brought about specifically because of a drag queen winning the Ms. Mason title last year.

Citing Mason’s diversity, Davis said it made sense for the competition to be gender-neutral. Davis did not consider the altering of the competition to affect the tradition of the pageant.

“It’s the same tradition, going with the times, evolving with the times,” said Davis.

Last year’s Ms. Mason winner, Ryan Allen, also known as Reann Ballslee, was enthusiastic about the change to the competition this year.

“The reason any university has a homecoming pageant is to find a very spirited student,” said Allen. “At Mason, it was partially about the spirit at the pageant and partially about the votes of the rest of the student body. The cool thing about only having one Mason Majesty is that it’s not about being a guy or girl — it’s about having spirit for the university.”

However, last year’s Mr. Mason winner, Richard Malebranche, did not agree with the decision to have just one winner.

“I’m not a big fan,” said Malebranche. “For as long as I can remember, we had two winners, and that’s how it should stay. If [those in charge of Homecoming] were comfortable with Ryan winning, then they wouldn’t have changed anything.”

Malebranche also said that having Allen win the award last year was inappropriate, citing that Allen identified as a man, while his alter-ego, what he entered the competition as, was a woman.

“He should have been my competition,” said Malebranche. According to Malebranche, had Allen identified as a woman completely, that would have been a different situation.

Students on campus also had their opinions regarding the change.

“I think they should have a girl and a boy win,” said sophomore biology major Rebecca Kagan.“If they allow transgenders, or people questioning, to win the girl spot or the boy spot, it isn’t excluding anybody and we can keep the tradition.”

Robert McKenney, a sophomore music education major, said he could understand Mason’s position on having just one winner this year, which would be a neutral position.

“It was more restricted [with a Mr. and Ms. Mason winner],” said McKenney. “This way, [having one winner], could give a more open means for the competition.”

Freshman sports management major Kristen Zimmerman thought that having the traditional two winners, and a single gender-neutral winner, could both be incorporated into the competition.

“If it is that big of a problem, they could have a traditional Mr. Mason and Ms. Mason, and then an extra spot for anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable running as a Mr. or Ms. Mason,” said Zimmerman.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>