Iowa City Pride brings genderless drag to The Mill on Friday with the Mister Iowa City and Iowa City Diva pageants

Mister Iowa City and Iowa City Diva pageants

The Mill, Iowa City — Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m.

Contestants in the 2018 Mister Iowa City pageant pose for a photo. Abel Justice, front, took home the title. — Ben Smith/Ben Allen Smith Photo, courtesy of Iowa City Pride

Mister Iowa City, one of Iowa City Pride’s five drag pageants, returns for its second year on Friday night. This time, the interpretations of “masculine” presented in the Mister Iowa City event will be joined with the first Iowa City Diva pageant, in which the performers present their interpretations of “feminine.”

“Unlike traditional drag pageants, performers are welcome to compete in either pageant regardless of which gender identity they present with now or in the past,” Iowa City Pride said in a press release. The event is part of the group’s “year-round commitment to honoring gender fluidity and non-conformity.”

“This pageant exemplifies the goals of providing networking and inclusion for womyn (an alternative spelling intended to break ties to patriarchy), and for transgender and nonbinary queer people,” Cassie Mae Ellis, Iowa City Pride secretary, said in a statement. “We are honored to help lead the change towards inclusivity within the local queer community.”

Ellis is also a board member of Lesbians of Iowa, the group coordinating the Mister Iowa City pageant for Iowa City Pride.

Prizes are awarded in the 2018 Mister Iowa City pageant, with drag king Abel Justice dubbed Mister Iowa City. Ben Smith/Ben Allen Smith Photo, courtesy of Iowa City Pride

Last year, Mister Iowa City became the first of five annual drag pageants Iowa City Pride sponsors to adopt a genderless approach, and that approach will now be followed in all of the group’s drag pageants.

The event starts on Friday at 7 p.m., and will be hosted by Catty Wompus and Moxie Hart of the Bawdy Bawdy Ha Ha! burlesque troupe. In addition to the pageant competitors, there will be guest performances, including last year’s winner Abel Justice, a member of the I.C. Kings drag king troupe. Iowa City Councilmember Bruce Teague will be part of the judging panel.

The event is all-ages, but anyone under 19 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian after 10 p.m., because of Iowa City’s 21 ordinance. Tickets start at $10.

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