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Drag Queen Center Stage At George Mason University

While homecoming queens across the nation accepted their crown in an ensemble of low-rise jeans, pink tube tops and Tiffany's accessories, Ryan Allen of George Mason University used his tiara to extenuate his sequined top and green-and-gold bow, sewn together by the university's theater department. Allen, in size 12 pumps and a curly bob to match, beat his female competition and became the first drag queen recipient of the Ms. Mason title on February 20th. In front a sold old-out basketball game against Northeastern at the Patriot Center, he accepted his crown in an educational climate in which one-third of the 30,000 student population is a minority. While most stood in a standing ovation as Allen addressed the crowd, some believed it was an inopportune moment for such publicity as George Mason is attempting to revamp its image as a commuter school. Yet, despite the muted outrage, the university's spokesman Daniel Walsch noted the school is "very comfortable with it. We're fine."

A local cabaret nightlife personality, Allen originally entered the contest as a senior year prank performing Britney Spears's "Womanizer." Though he was competing against more traditional candidates for the title including a sorority member who argued the tiara should be hers because she has "pride in Mason to the point where [her] towels are green and gold," Allen still managed to win. Allen worked the stadium's court as if it was his personal runway with hand held high and a Vaseline-induced smile that could rival a tweaked out Cameron Diaz. And as for Mr. Mason? Well, junior Ricky Malebranche from Woodbridge was not only overshadowed, but also awkwardly emasculated. For the first time, his muscle tee and ripped biceps did not work in his favor.

-- COURTNEY NICHOLS

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