For starters, I spent last weekend in Utica, NY at the Pride Along the Mohawk festival. I was hosted by Jeff Sterling and his partner Milford, who have both worked very hard to support the LGBTQ/A community in upstate New York. (LGBTQ/A = a little longer than normal, right? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Allies) The festival was small, but mighty and gave yet another reference to how people display "pride." With beautiful hospitality, the people of Utica welcomed me and have become huge supporters of my role in the fight for equality. During the festival on Saturday, I did a radio show with A Thousand Moms that you can listen to below. Our topic focus was on the recent suicides that have been related to sexual orientation discrimination. Unfortunately, that fueled an entire hour long show - there is too much to talk about - too many news stories on this issue.
On Sunday, Jeff and Milford hosted an interfaith religious ceremony with Hindu and Buddhist chants, a message by the Catholic priest and prayers by Methodist ministers. We listened to the sermon about Leviticus and Romans, two books of the Bible usually used against homosexuality. He ended with Romans 12. It really brought ideas full circle for me because my favorite Bible verse is Romans 12:18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." This is the verse I recited in my on stage question at Miss Jubilee two years ago and I think it's a universal one upon which we can all agree. On a day that it was supposed to rain, it held off for these beautiful messages to be shared with people whose minds were open to hear them. After grabbing a plateful from the potluck dinner, it was home on the train back to NYC.
Utica religious event features Miss New York, focuses on gay rights - Utica Observer Dispatch, September 20, 2010
On Monday it was time for the MAO Lottery! Such an exciting time because now it all feels so real! The way the lottery works is this: You sit in front of a computer for what could be five minutes or five hours and wait for your state to pop up. When it does, you have five minutes to call in your choice for your contestant number/group. I was called in the late 30's when over half of the contestants were on the board. I am officially Contestant #6 in the Alpha Group -- Monday afternoon interview, Tuesday Talent, Wednesday On Stage Question, Thursday Swimsuit and Evening Gown. Interview prep meetings started the next morning, and ballet classes at Broadway Dance Center that night. We're off!! Road to the big show!
The next afternoon, I also had my first round of facials and skin treatments with Dr. Hatcher and Violeta from Chelsea Dermatology, one of our amazing sponsors. "He's gonna have your face as smooth as a baby's butt by January." <--- yep. That was the encouragement I received from someone on the Miss NY Board. Thank you. :)
More photos in my Photo Gallery & September Events