Last month, a Mr., a Miss, & a Ms. Gay Oregon were crowned shortly after Portland Pride. The beloved pageant, one of the highlights of The Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon. PQ got a chance to speak with each of the pageant winners. As they each had something passionate to say about their win, we're rolling them out in three separate pieces.
In this piece, we heard from Fenix St. Cloud, Mr. Gay Oregon XLV.
ProudQueer: Was this your first time entering a pageant? Do you or have you had any experience in performance?
Mr. Gay Oregon: This is my first Court system title run, especially at this level. I've done pageants in past for Miss titles in local bars back home in Indiana. On a performance level, it certainly isn't new to me. Aside from when I was very young drag queen, I am a (as of late 2017) retired Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. I am used to working a crowd, raising money for charity and driving a message home to people's minds. It was just my first time doing as me. No pads, no pancake makeup or wigs. Just this triple thick cub and a stage name.
PQ: What motivated you to enter?
MGO: As I'm sure a reader or nine that read this can confirm, we are in unique times. In all honesty and zero disrespect to my friends, peers or those that came before me--I didn't know anyone like me. As I said before, I'm a triple thick cub--AKA a bigger than average bloke--who has gone through Hell and back. I've survived more than anyone should and somehow still here. I survived what Life dished out and could have taken away. I also survived my own self--being my own worst enemy, suicide attempts, destructive self-esteem, you name it. It took a recent private wake-up call, and some amazing friends, in and out of the Court system, to make me realize that if I'm going through this, and able to survive, surely there is another person out there going through the same and needs to see someone like them up on the metaphorical main stage.
PQ: What platform did you run on?
MGO: Life. Reality. Essentially, my talent number was mind opening, revival piece. Our current political and social atmosphere has, in my opinion, thrown us off course. We need to take Pride in ALL that we are: people of color, trans* people, people of age, people of varying sides of the gender spectrum, people living with disabilities, people with varying levels of income, people of faith, people living with and surviving HIV, etc. We are people. We mustn't forget or allies, by just giving a respectful nod and thank you for whatever they are willing to do for us. Essentially, long story short, it was for us to take the emerald and Rose colored glasses off, truly see what's happening at the end of our noses and just be proud of one another, standing up for them and shining on in love. Need us not forget that it took one gay man in San Francisco to open the mind of a straight male mayor before they were both assassinated by a man with a Twinkie defense?
PQ: I am sure you see the irony, you're 45 and a certain other person in DC is also "45." What will your activities include as Mr. Gay Oregon 45?
MGO: I'll be honest, the irony didn't hit me until the next morning. I want it to be known that I am not out there alone on this Gay Oregon path. I've two amazing, fierce and equally strong partners along on this ride: Miss Gay Oregon XLVI Aliyah Nicole and Ms. Gay Oregon XXIV Emma Skywalker Eyesli. We've just been crowned and haven't set up a game plan yet; however, my personal ambitions is focusing on LGBTQ mental health access, aging LGBTQ resources and suicide prevention. We'll be announcing more publicly in the upcoming weeks.
PQ: How many contestants were there?
MGO: Four contestants: my two partners as mentioned, myself and an amazing young man with great ambition and drive that has a brilliant future ahead of him, Lucifer Foxx of Salem, ran for mister.
PQ: Do you do/have you done any work with LGBT non-profits in the past?
MGO: As mentioned, I've been a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence up until my retirement in late 2017, as Sister Bertha B!tch. That journey begun in San Diego, carried over to my home state of Indiana and ended here. My other experiences include writing for previous LGBTQ magazines, and also being a legislative intern for this state’s openly gay state representative Rob Nosse.
PQ: What is your favorite part about the community in Portland?
MGO: In the words of RuPaul: Creativity, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. I've been here for almost six years Labor Day and I've so much growth in the drag and entertainment community. Portland as a whole? The way we come together to stand up for what we believe in as a community is pretty awe-stricken in my soul. I love it.
PQ: What do you do professionally? Do you think this had any bearing in your selection as Mr Gay Oregon '45?
MGO: I work in the private sector, and there's no correlation between the two.
PQ: What are you most proud of right now?
MGO: Not to sound cocky, but my confidence boosted 3fold since I was crowned. I am proud of myself for staying committed, accepting help when needed. I have had lessons in humility in the past, but this is a huge one for me. I'm proud of my community who came together to show pride in themselves. I'm proud of the Imperial Court System. My journey as current Mr. Gay Oregon isn't just for Portland--it’s Sale and Eugene...but I'm making it my personal business to include all of the queer alphabet in our state, while also working with our brethren of the rainbow in surrounding states.
PQ: What do you feel the LGBTQ community has to focus on right now, given the change in the political climate?
MGO: It IS about us. It's about you, me, everyone. We have to show respect for all people of color, all trans people, all people of age, disability, mental illness, income level. We have to respect every single human being. We can't survive without a foreground of peace, acknowledgement, respect, understanding and equal rights across the board. The Orange 45 is wanting to destroy that bond. We only aid him when we destroy ourselves internally because we cannot be a unified front and community at large.
Visit The Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon to learn about upcoming events.