For the first time ever, Lambda Delta Sigma (LDS) has taken a more gender inclusive approach to their annual pageant. Using the gender-neutral title “Mx.”(pronounced mix), their traditionally all-male philanthropic event, formerly Mr. Concordia, has been renamed Mx. Concordia. The event will take place on Saturday, January 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Centrum.
In Mx. Concordia, members of student organizations and groups on-campus represent their organization in a pageant-style competition to raise money for the YWCA Cass Clay, a shelter for women and children struggling with crisis situations like domestic violence and homelessness. This year’s pageant includes participants representing groups like theatre, choir, and the nutrition program.
The change to a more inclusive pageant has been talked about for the past couple of years in LDS, but this year’s co-philanthropy chairs, Georgia Wachtler and Payton Hausauer, decided to finally take the leap towards inclusivity.
“I know that there are people on this campus that identify as ‘they,’ and that was the main focus for me because I know some of them would be so good in this pageant,” Wachtler said.
The pair knew that the society could face backlash because of the change, but so far, it has resulted in more learning experiences than controversies. With renaming the pageant, the question was raised by participants of whether they would be able to be crowned “Mr. Concordia” if they used he/him pronouns, or if everyone would compete for the title of Mx. Concordia. It was ultimately decided that contestants would be able to choose the pronouns and title they wanted to compete under.
“If you identify as male and want to keep your pronouns, as an example, you can be Mr. Arts, or you can be Mx. Arts,” Wachtler said.
Jared Torgeson, competing in the pageant as Mx. Theatre, has welcomed the step towards inclusivity.
“‘Mx.’ as a title is still pretty new and it is exciting it’s getting recognition,” they said.
Torgeson considers themself a strong advocate for the LGBTQ and gender non-conforming communities, and is excited to be able to represent those communities on a stage.
One of the main reasons that people participate in the pageant is because of the organization that the event supports. All the money raised from Mx. Concordia is donated directly to the YWCA, and the month after the pageant the ladies of Lambda Delta Sigma volunteer at the shelter.
“Mx. Concordia always seemed like a fun thing, and I’m really excited it’s a fundraiser for the YWCA,” said Parker Erickson, who is representing the Office of Admission, as Mr. Admission.
He had experiences with the YWCA through a class in high school and is excited to help support women and children in the area that are in need through the event.
Money is raised through a combination of ticket sales and other donations. Tickets are sold during the week leading up to the pageant for $3 and at the door at the night of the event for $4. The week before, the contestants are encouraged to campaign around campus with baskets asking for donations. The money raised by contestants counts towards their final score in the pageant, so the work done by contestants during the week is just as important as the show they put on at the event.
For the actual competition, contestants compete in three categories: talent, Cobber spirit, and an impromptu question. Scores for these categories are awarded by a panel of judges. The scores from their performances are combined with totals of the money raised during the week, and the contestant with the highest score takes home the corn crown.