Friday, July 14, 2006
July 2006 TransGriot Column
Congratulations Domanique Shappelle!
Copyright 2006, THE LETTER
I enjoy watching a good drag show or pageant every now and then (as long as I’m not choking on cigarette smoke in the process). I’ll even sit down and judge them from time to time when presented with the opportunity.
Thanks to all the wonderful people who extended me an invitation to judge the inaugural Miss Imperial Diva 2006 Pageant that took place on June 14. Congratulations to Vanessa Ross of Indianapolis who was crowned the winner.
I also enjoyed getting to meet special guests Amelia Black and Terri Vanessa Coleman and watching them perform as well
Speaking of congratulations, it’s past time for me to extend them to the other royalty in our midst in Da Ville since her reign is rapidly drawing to a close. Congratulations to Domanique Shappelle, Miss Continental 2005-2006.
Miss Continental is held during the Labor Day weekend in Chicago. The Miss Continental system is one of the prestige pageant circuits along with the Miss Gay America and Miss Gay USofA systems. There are several African-American pageant systems as well such as Miss Black Universe and Liberty International for starters and the list seems to grow longer with each passing year.
I met Domanique in conjunction with the time I spent with HIM 100 Concerned Men and HER back in 2003 as Transgender Initiative Coordinator. I was asked to become coordinator when no one else wanted the job. She was doing shows at The Connection at the time and had the respect of many of the transwomen I was trying to reach. That was critical as Dawn, myself and several other dedicated people worked diligently for almost a year to try to revive the Afro-American centered HIV/AIDS program before its funding was pulled.
I have had the pleasure during my journey to transwomanhood of meeting many female illusionists. Some are no longer here like the legendary Naomi Sims. Others I’ve met in my hometown and elsewhere have gone on to bigger and better things such as Tommie Ross, Chevelle Brooks, Chanel Nicole, Shawnna Brooks, Sophia McIntosh and Lawanda Jackson.
I have always been aware of the fact in conversing with many of these beautiful and talented ladies that many of them are intelligent goal-oriented individuals. I discovered during a dinner we had at the house a few years ago that Domanique has a degree in communications. We shared the same concerns about our younger transsistahs growing up without the foundations of a good education, knowing their history and having role models they can be proud of.
Well, Domanique is doing it in the pageant world. Whether she’s onstage or off, she’s carried herself with class and dignity. She’s cognizant of the role she plays as a mentor to the girls of the pageant world as their representative just as myself and others strive to build a positive image for transpeople in our interactions with the folks we come in contact with on a daily basis
Our busy schedules over the last two years have prevented us from being in contact as much as I’d like to, but Domanique is definitely someone I want to spend more quality time with. I still consider her a friend and hope she feels the same way.
Congratulations, sis. May you have continued success in your career.