Crown Jewels: Meet our 2017 Diamond List

Clockwise from top left: Makena Knight, Miss Gay Metropolitan America; Adria Andrews, Miss Gay Missouri of USofA; Jade Sinclair, Miss Missouri Continental Elite; Tassandra Crush, Queen of Pride STL; Jinger Fahrenheit, Miss Pride STL; Karma T. Cassidy, Miss Gay St. Louis America. (Photo by Monica Mileur)

The history of drag in St. Louis is both colorful and politically important.

The St. Louis LGBT History Project has unearthed examples of “female impersonator” news stories dating as far back as the 1870s — including one of a man who died from wearing a corset too tight, crushing his organs. St. Louis’ masquerading laws, which were on the books from the 1840s until 1985, prohibited a person from “appearing in public in a dress not belonging to his or her sex.” Breaking this law landed many female impersonators (and many people who today would most likely identify as trans) in jail.

Tassandra Crush, Queen of Pride STL (Photo by Monica Mileur)

Just as New York City’s drag queens were key players at Stonewall, St. Louis’ female impersonator community has played pivotal political and social justice roles. In fact, it was the 1984 arrest of entertainer Michael Shreves (Michelle McCausland) and others at Uncle Marvin’s bar that finally ended years of bar raids and police harassment. In 1985, Shreves challenged his arrest in court, prompting a judge to finally deem the masquerading law unconstitutional.

Over the years, St. Louis’ female impersonators have led vital fundraising efforts to support the LGBTQ community, including early HIV/AIDS charities in the late 1980s. Those efforts often take the form of a pageant, where contestants compete in categories including interviews, evening gowns and talent shows. From system pageants to bar titles, these competitions give the community an opportunity to support entertainers who have captured their hearts — even while giving money to worthy causes.

These entertainers either live in St. Louis or have captured titles in our region over the past year.

Jinger Fahrenheit, Miss Pride STL (Photo by Monica Mileur)

National Title Holders

Mr. American National Star: Kobra Belle (St. Louis resident, crowned in Memphis, Tennessee)

State/Regional Title Holders

Missouri All American Goddess: Nikki Vixxen (Minnesota resident, crowned in St. Charles at Throwbacks Bar and Grill)

Miss Missouri Continental: Moltyn Decadence (Kansas City resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Improv Shop)

Miss Gay Missouri America: Tabbi Katt (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at MCC Church)

Mr. Missouri National Showman: Jace Highland (St. Louis Resident, crowned in Springfield at Martha’s Vineyard)

Miss Missouri Continental Elite: Jade Sinclair (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at Attitudes Nightclub)

Miss Gay Missouri USofA: Adria Andrews (St. Louis resident, crowned in Springfield at Martha’s Vineyard)

Miss Missouri State: Tajh Valentino (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Ambassador)

Miss Cosmopolitan: Chasity Valentino (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis)

Mr. Missouri State: Angel Iman (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Ambassador)

Jade Sinclair, Miss Missouri Continental Elite (Photo by Monica Mileur)

City/Bar Titles

Miss Bubby & Sissy’s 2017: Khrystal Leight (Cape Girardeau resident, crowned in Alton, Illinois)

Miss Bubby & Sissy’s 2018: Diva Coppafeel (St. Louis resident, crowned in Alton)

Queen of St. Louis Pride: Tassandra Crush (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Improv Shop)

King of St. Louis Pride: Sir Lix-a-Lot (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Improv Shop)

Miss St. Louis Pride: Jinger Fahrenheit (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Improv Shop)

Mr. St. Louis Pride: Noah Mazzarattie-Steele (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Improv Shop)

Miss Gay Metropolitan America: Makena Knight (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Grey Fox Pub)

Miss Gay Northwest Missouri America: Lindsay Bryant (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Joseph)

Miss Gay Show Me Pride Missouri America: Diva Coppafeel (St. Louis resident, crowned in Kansas City)

Miss Gay St. Louis America: Janessa Highland (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Grey Fox Pub)

Miss Gay River City America: Roxxy Malone (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis at the Grey Fox Pub)

Miss Bastille: Tiffany T. Hunter (St. Louis resident, crowned in St. Louis)

Miss Fannie’s Ball: Sage Summers (Indianapolis resident, crowned in St. Louis)

Note: Any 2017 title holders omitted by error or due to print deadlines will be added in the online version of this piece.

Left to right: Makena Knight, Miss Gay Metropolitan America; Karma T. Cassidy, Miss Gay St. Louis America; and Adria Andrews, Miss Gay Missouri of USofA (Photo by Monica Mileur)

Our Contributors

Steven Louis Brawley is the founder of the St. Louis LGBT History Project. 

“Queen of Controversy” Janessa Highland holds the following titles: Miss Gay St. Louis America 2018, Missouri All Ameican Godess 2016, Miss Show-Me States USofA 2014, Miss Bastille 2014 and Miss SEMO America 2013.

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