VOTE: Who will be the “Ultimate Diva!”?

Everyone knows Dallas has more than its fair share of divas. So when we decided to hold the Ultimate Diva! contest — which comes with a photo spread in the Readers Voice Awards Ultimate Diva! edition on March 18, a $1,000 donation to the winner’s charity-of-choice and best of all, bragging rights — we knew we’d get some fabulous entrants from which to cull our top 10. And we did.

Not surprising (considering the charitable contribution) was that many of those who put themselves in the running as the Ultimate Diva! were locals with proven track records as fundraisers for gay nonprofits: Edna Jean Robinson (aka Richard Curtin); Victoria Weston (aka Mike Fulk); Jenna Skyy (aka Joe Hoselton); Linze Serell (aka Bill Lindsey); Ima Lush (aka Jerry McDonald); and SheGotta Moustache (aka Greg Smith). Perhaps also not surprisingly, these Ultimate Diva! wannabes are all members of that sub-classification of divaliciousness: The drag queen.

But this was not, per se, a drag competition — far from it. It’s about style, balls, attitude. It’s about being proud of who you are without apology and bringing the force of your personality into any discussion. So we happily added M-to-F trainer Chris Tina Foxx Bruce to the lineup, representing the trans community.

It’s also not just about those born as biological who dress (or identify) as women — we had some biological girls enter the Ultimate Diva! contest, too. Stacy McKinney’s photo surrounded her feminine self with hot gay guys — always a plus. And Brandi Amara Skyy (real last name: Garcia) has the name of a drag queen, perhaps even the soul of one, but the plumbing of a girl. (She calls herself  a “biologically challenged drag queen”).

Individual divas are all well and good, of course, but a group diva? Totally. So we were excited to see Dallas Pride Cheer, the prideful group of sissy-boom-bah athletes, wade into the fray: If anyone qualifies as an Ultimate Diva!, it’s someone who forms a human pyramid to make their point.

Of course, this is just the start of these contestants’ claim to diva glory — you play a part, too. Go to dfwReadersVoice.com
and read up on each of the contestants who believe they deserve to be named Ultimate Diva! Review their photos and their charity of choice; and tell your friends to come out and support their favorite diva, whether drag queen, trans role model, woman or group. And once you vote, enter yourself in the drawing for a round-trip ticket for two on American Airlines. What a diva thing that would be to win!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

No place like home

Linze Serell began her Miss Charity America reign nine years ago, just not like you think.

“I was first runner-up for nine years,” Bill Lindsey says. “This year, I thought I’d give it another try.”

Serell is the alter ego of Lindsey and this year, he took the title for the first time after 11 total tries. But winning or not, this pageant is more than sparkles and makeup.

For 20 years, Miss Charity America has been the main fundraiser for Home for the Holidays, which sends people living with AIDS home during the season.

“It’s been a blessing to stick around this long,” he says. “I think we’re the only organization of our kind in the country.”

Last year, the organization provided travel for 23 people, including sending some home to South Africa. Although Lindsey says Home for the Holidays has lingered on the bottom of the list for AIDS funding, it has received help and acknowledgement from the likes of

American Airlines and Black Tie. This could be a new start for the organization, but that makes Miss Charity America no less important.

“Oh yes, this event is the life source of our organization,” Lindsey says.

— R.L.

Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. 7 p.m. $5. All proceeds benefit the organization. HomeForTheHolidaysTexas.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas