First Miss Gay Kansas Crowned
This year’s Miss Gay Kansas United State pageant was held onSaturday, March 7, at Maceli’s Banquet Hall & Catering in Lawrence, and Deja Brooks, whose real name is Brandon Eisman, has been crowned the inaugural Miss Gay Kansas. Brooks is a high-profile drag queen who has almost single-handedly brought drag into the Lawrence mainstream. She regularly hosts events such as Deja’s Reading Rainbow and Drag Bingo at the Lawrence Public Library. She also hosts the annual Transformations Charity Gala.
The first runner-up is Londenn Davenport Raine, whose real name is Londenn Coleman. The winner gets a $3,000 cash prize plus entrance fee and round-trip airfare to compete for the title of Miss Gay United States in Virginia. The second place winner gets $1,000 cash plus airfare and entrance fee to Nationals.
Third runner up was Didi Cumswell (Dillon May) of Kansas City and fourth runner up was MsAmanda Love (Nathan Stitt) of Lawrence.
The pageant consisted of three categories of competition: an American-themed runway portion, a talent portion and an evening gown and question-and-answer portion. For the American-themed categories, contestant’s costumes had to consist only of the colors red, white and blue. “And it had to be American flag blue,” says event organizer, Steve Maceli.
Moltyn Decadence, real name Ryan Webster, who was crowned Miss Gay United States at Large in 2018, was an audience favorite as the event’s hilarious and personable emcee.
Judges included performers Aaliyah Martinez and Tabbi Katt, Lawrence Mayor Jennifer Ananda, burlesque performer Marisa MacKay-Smith and Former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Tajma Stetson, Miss Gay United States 2019, also performed.
Promoter and organizer Steve Maceli made sure the event went off without a hitch, and he knew which performers and judges to bring in to make the launch a success. “All these performers have performed at Maceli’s before,” he said. He noted that while most pageants of this type take place in bars, the Miss Gay Kansas event included seating and food as well as drinks.
“I think for our first time, it was a pretty damn good show,” Maceli said, and the audience seemed to agree.