Adorned in sequins, eyelashes and rhinestones, the 2019 Miss Glamour & Fame was crowned Friday, Oct. 18 at Club Luxor. The Office of LGBTQIA Education and Engagement hosted the annual drag pageant as the conclusion to Texas Tech’s Pride Week.
History was made when Lady Liliana Belle-Versailles was crowned Miss Glamour & Fame. She is the first “bio-queen” to win a drag pageant in Lubbock. She is also a university studies major from Virginia.
“I’m really excited to use the platform, because I am a bio-queen, and I want to use it just to help Tech and to expand and show how much Tech has to offer and how much west Texas has to offer in drag and in the queer community in general,” she said. “I’m queer so I'm really excited to use this platform.”
Lady Liliana Belle-Versailles is her stage name, but she asked to keep her birth name private.
A “bio-queen” is a drag performer who was born a woman, Belle-Versailles said. Another name bio-queens may go by is female-female impersonators. Though female, bio-queens compete and are judged to the same standard.
“I found out (that) women could do drag, which I didn't know, and I'm sure a lot of women didn't know that,” she said. “Very few people do, which is a good thing, it means we've done our job and we look professional.”
The pageant was open to all genders and inclusivity is at the heart of all the events hosted by the Office of LGBTQIA Education and Engagement, Reece Marr, a senior economics major from Minerals, and a student assistant for public relations, said.
“I think it's really good for feminism because usually drag is a male dominated practice, a male dominated art but this should be open to all genders,” he said. “We want everyone to know the art of drag is open to everybody. We here at Texas Tech want to make all of our events inclusive for all communities, all genders, and anybody identifying from any sexual orientation.”
The host of the evening's festivities was Miss Emologie Raven, who has been performing as a drag queen for 23 years and also performs at Club Luxor.
Club Luxor is also celebrating it's 23rd year as the oldest gay bar in West Texas, Raven said. While the gay community is now widely accepted, it is important to remember who was first.
“We’ve encountered a lot of struggle to get here,” Raven said. “23 years means a lot to us because we’ve stayed open. Many other gay bars have opened and closed, but we've stayed open 23 years. It's been a long road and it's good we are accepted (in) other places, but we have to remember who was here first and supported all the gays.”
The 2019 Miss Glamour & Fame Pageant closed out a week of Pride at Tech. These events create visibility for the LGBTQIA community and attract members outside the community, Marr said. It can help educate those on the outside, and creates a space for discussion within the community.
“It helps them learn more about everything that’s going on with this community,” Marr said. “I know drag culture isn’t going to teach you everything about all the issues happening in the LGBTQIA community, but it makes those issues visible.”