Last year's representative from the island, Mimi Mancini, a Jamaican originally from the parish of St Ann, walked away with the coveted title. So this year, Jamaica's entrant, Liyana Grey, who was born in the United States, but has Jamaican parentage has entered the competition.
The contest is open to men who dress like women, or those who are completely transgendered. It features contestants with Caribbean roots, parading in swimwear, evening wear as well as doing talent pieces.
A release from the organisers stated that the contestants will "...be featured in "Wow Wear" which consists of over the top attire designed by Caribbean, New York-based designers like Jennefer Darmanie and Gennell Lewis.
The show will officially be launched in New York on July 18. The contestants, who hail from seven different Caribbean islands, will make their first public appearance then.
This year's competition will feature
- Ven Detta St Mykael of Barbados,
- Sassy Sylvia representing St Kitts,
- Victoria of Guyana, Kelis representing the Dominican Republic,
- St Lucia's Lady Blu,
- Liyana Grey of Jamaica and Jennifer Banks representing Trinidad and Tobago.
The show's organiser, Hemish Gervis, said that as far as he knows there was no backlash from Jamaicans after a winner was chosen from here last year. He said the competition is aimed at encouraging tolerance of the gay lifestyle.
About the possibility of any backlash this year, Jamaica's representative said, "I can't anticipate everything. I'm not really sure. I'm hoping for the best and I'm not thinking about the negative that is associated with being out and gay."
Grey's parents are from Kingston and are very supportive of the decision to enter the contest.
For once the Star News has commented on a piece with homosexuality without having to resort to sensationalism or innuendo, well a welcomed change here folks.
Peace and tolerance