A Chapman University student is poised to make history as the first transgender contestant in an all-female pageant.
Addie Vincent is already used to shaking things up on the private Orange campus. The 21-year-old senior tried last year to become the first transgender woman to be initiated into a sorority within Chapman's Greek system. After Vincent was cut from the process on the second day of rush, she announced plans to launch the first-ever, gender-neutral "frarority."
Speaking of Greeks, the men of Chapman's Delta Tau Delta Fraternity organized their first Delta Queen pageant in 2008. This philanthropic event not only crowns a woman on campus as queen but raises funds and awareness for the Beckstrand Cancer Association, a Newport Beach-based nonprofit that improves the lives of cancer patients and their families.
Vincent tells the Weekly she's been preparing the last three months to become the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity's representative at the Delta Queen contest, which crowns its winner the evening of
March 7 March 12* in Chapman's Memorial Hall.
"I've had an enormous amount of support from the Chapman community already and have even received messages from both friends and strangers letting me know that I've inspired them to be proud of who they are," Vincent says. "It's an awesome chance to make a difference in our community, while also making history for the Queer community at Chapman."
The Canadian-born, Michigan-raised Peace Studies major figures this will be her last chance to make a big impact on campus.
"I knew that if I was a part of the competition, and possibly the winner, I would be making history for the Queer (LGBTQPIOUA+) community at Chapman and in Orange County," Vincent says. "Just a few months ago, a transgender woman was crowned homecoming queen at her high school in Huntington Beach."
That would be Cassidy Lynn Campbell, the Marina High School student who made history in September of last year–and, as Vincent is well aware, withstood a swift backlash.
"She faced harsh criticism from the nation for just being her beautiful and courageous self," Vincent observes. "I'm doing this to continue what she's started and to create more trans-visibility in the area."
Vincent concedes she is afraid of suffering a similar backlash, "but at the same time, I've been so overwhelmed with support and love from both friends and strangers. I get messages every now and then letting me know that I'm inspiring people in the Chapman community to be themselves and not let gender or sex hold them back from achieving their dreams."
Any fears soon give way to extreme anticipation.
"I feel so blessed to have such an amazing community of supporters and friends," Vincent says, "and I hope to continue making an impact at Chapman and in Orange County even after the pageant."
For more on the pageant, visit www.cudeltaqueen.com.
For more on Beckstrand Cancer Association, go to www.beckstrand.org.
* Event date corrected.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.