Saint Ignacio, Miss Gay and Captain James T Kirk

The young cadet James T Kirk, a rebellious lad, was put to the test. He was given the Koybayashi Maru, a simulator test with a no win scenario. This test was to examine how a future captain could handle certain failure and inevitable tragedy. For the non Treky’s the ship hears a distress signal in a neutral no go area, entering it will be seen as an act of war bringing unsurmountable retaliation and certain death. Not heading the distress call means certain death for the comrades on the other ship, there is no win. Kirk does not accept failure as the only choice and sneaks into the exam room and alters the program allowing him to save the distressed ship and defeat the enemy. This episode is one of the most famous and defines Capt. Kirk and his career.

Last night at the San Ignacio Miss Gay Pageant I saw ten Captain Kirks in full spender. Young people who were given their own Koybayashi Maru’s; life’s no win scenario. Each were born with the wrong identity, a girl’s mind and soul in a boy’s body. This could make for a life of depression, shame and confusion but they chose not to live that life. The replaced all the negativity with love and beauty, as the young cadet did, they changed their reality and became winners.

Gubat is Donna’s home village, her family is a keen part of this small, very Catholic and conservative tight knit community. Each year they celebrate the Patron Saint, San Ignacio with a week of events and Fiesta, it is a big deal! One such event is the Miss Gay pageant, the ramrod for this is an reluctantly approaching middle aged spunky Ladyboy, Cherry Pie. When Cherry Pie asked me to be a sponsor and judge for the pageant I jumped at the chance, then realized how serious an honor and responsibility it was. I gotta say I was, to quote Steven Stills at Woodstock, “scared shitless”. I hit the web googling “how to judge a beauty pageant” as I knew how much work went into all this and I had to do a good job.

The pageant started late, hey we were waiting for ladies to get beautiful after all. There were seven judges, I being the only foreigner. The arena was packed, young and old attending. I sat twitching in my table until the first candidate walked on stage, wow! She was spectacular, she walked by the judge’s tables and gave me a wink. I thought no one could be better, just give her the prize and let’s go home. Then the second, third and so on came up, all gorgeous and any a possible winner. Then I thought, this was not going to be easy!

The first event was the creative attire, full head dresses and some native influence prevailed. Each girl came to a microphone right in front of me and gave a little talk, all but one in English. Their dialogs were enlightening and refreshing, they were smart and beautiful, and I thought; this is not getting any easier.

The events unfolded, sport attire, evening wear, and when the swim wear portion was half way through, ol’ mother nature provided the special effects, a royal down pour of rain. People came from every direction to help and moved all seven of us judges, microphones and committee tables onto the dry stage and the show went on. The girls undaunted kept the smiles and sloshed by in those wobbly high heels. The rain stopped and we dried off the judge’s tables and we kept at it.

The ten were reduced to five finalists, and that is when the judges got to ask the questions. I had pondered this part a great deal, what should I ask. I even posted to my facebook friends asking for suggestions. I got drawn first, asked the candidate to tell me, as a tourist, why should I come to this area and what should I see. Well she must have known my story as she told me I came for the right reason, to find love and she knew I had. Some of the other judges gave better and more demanding questions about the candidates’ views on the death penalty, gay rights and even what would they ask the President if they could (actually that is one suggestion my facebook friends gave). I was moved as one told of her gratitude for finding a man who loves and accepts her for what she is. Again all but one gave the answers in perfect English, the one in Tagalog must have been good, Donna who was supposed to translate was laughing too hard to talk. I gave her high marks for wit and audience reaction, had to.

Our score sheets gave three criteria, beauty/brains, 50% Poise, 30% and audience reaction, 10%. For each division for each candidate. After each division the sheets were tallied. At the end there was a tie for 3rd and 4th so the judges were polled. Although I had a favorite I was not at all sure who had won, it was that close.

Before the main awards, the subsequent awards were given, so every girl got something and that was good. It takes an immense amount of courage to do what these gals do, immense. The top girls are incredible but it is the others I had the most respect for; the kinda pudgy one who walked on stage like a princess or the clearly older one who, although shaking, never gave a hint of giving up, always “on”. I was glad they each got an award they deserved it.

So with great excitement the prizes were presented, 4th runner up, and so on until only two are standing. Then 2nd runner up (my favorite) and the winner. As I had sponsored first prize, Donna and I gave the award and I got to crown the new San Igancio Miss Gay for 2016.

I left exhausted, I had focused hard for over four hours, trembling with excitement and humbled and honored to be a part of this event. This is just another of the amazingly enlightening experiences I have had on this great adventure. Another experience one has to set sail to experience and that no amount of money could buy, thanks San Ignacio, thank you to the ten wonderful girls and thanks Gubat for making me feel at home.

Make Your Dream Your Story

Capt. Brian Calvert

M/Y Furthur