WaPo Hypes Homecoming Drag Queen at George Mason as 'Glittering Moment of Inclusiveness'

The top of Friday’s Metro section of The Washington Post touted the drag queen who became Homecoming Queen at George Mason University. The enthusiastic headline was "Work That Tiara, Boy!" Inside the Metro section, the headline was "Not Everyone Is Celebrating Glittering Moment of Inclusiveness."The front page subhead noted the election sparked a "campus divide," but Annie Gowen’s story wasn’t really interested in the critics of Ryan Allen (drag queen name: Reann Ballslee). She began: "Spend time with George Mason University senior Ryan Allen and it's clear why he's a Big Man on Campus. He wears size 12 pumps." Gowen and her Post editors see this issue as a happy tale of more respect for diversity and minorities:

Many see it as an expression of inclusiveness at a place where about one-third of the 30,000 students are minority. But others say it is an embarrassment at an inopportune time when Mason is trying to revamp its image from commuter school to distinguished institution of higher learning. Officially, the university is "very comfortable with it. We're fine," spokesman Daniel Walsch said. The school does not require participants in the Mr. and Ms. Mason pageant to compete along precise gender lines, he said.

The one opponent of the homecoming drag queen simply expressed embarrassment, not a moral argument against homosexuality or cross-dressing:

But electing a dude as homecoming queen is not the way to bolster pride, sophomore Grant Bollinger said. Mason was recently named the No. 1 national university to watch by U.S. News & World Report, he said -- it should act like it. "It's really annoying," said Bollinger, who works as an ambassador for the admissions office. "The game was on TV. Everyone was there. All eyes were on us. And we do something like this? It's just stupid."

It became just another episode for The Washington Post to preach the need for acceptance of diversity:

Allen said he decided to enter the Ms. Mason contest this year as a joke, a last hurrah for his senior year. Soon he had donned a silver bra and zebra-print pants and was lip-syncing to Britney Spears's "Womanizer" at the qualifying pageant Feb. 9, overseen by Miss Virginia 2009.... Allen grew up in tiny Goochland, Va., about 30 miles northwest of Richmond, and endured years of taunts from classmates after coming out during his freshman year in high school. When Allen came to Mason in 2005, his world grew wider. His drag alter ego, Reann, began performing at nightclubs including Freddie's Beach Bar in Crystal City and Apex in the District. Over the years, Allen perfected his stagecraft, learning how to apply shading makeup to look more feminine and buying gowns on a student budget from other drag queens. His fame grew as each year he emceed Mason's drag show, held during Pride Week. And with fame, acceptance.

The same thing happened on MSNBC (video at Breitbart.tv). Anchor Tamron Hall supportively interviewed Ryan Allen and read from her Twitter commenters, including only the mandatory sermon supporting "open minds" and acceptance:

"Good for him! I support everyone’s right to be themselves and happy. History always seems to favor inclusive people, not exclusive people." So congratulations, Ryan, to you, and I certainly hope you’re, as you said, embraced by those with open minds, and we respect those who don’t appreciate it. Congratulations to Reann, too.

They didn’t respect opponents enough to have a debate, or even read Twitter comments of opponents.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis