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February 23, 2007
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Volume 35
Issue 08
 
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Moving Forward: An emotional chat with New ISCSORE Empress Sapphire Knight
Moving Forward: An emotional chat with New ISCSORE Empress Sapphire Knight
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN Contributing Writer

I wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen when I sat down with new Imperial Court of Seattle (ISCSORE) monarchs Rainier XXXIII Mark Dubois and Olympia XXXVI Sapphire Knight. It had been less than two days since the newly crowned Empress lost her partner Allen Strange to injuries suffered in a tragic accident, and it would have been understandable if Knight still wasn't ready for an interview.

Yet, with her title partner sitting by her side, the new titular head of ISCSORE opened up a bit more than I think either she or I expected. "It is [still] very emotional," stated Sapphire. "Throughout all my other titles my husband [Allen] -- I call him my husband because when you've been together with someone for 13 years I don't care what a legislature or a politician says he is definitely your husband -- has always been there with me. It's really hard when you've had someone in your life for that amount of time and then they are gone. I have feelings of loss. I have feelings of not really knowing what the future will hold for me."

The new Olympia takes a moment to compose herself before continuing, Dubois holding her hand in kindly support. "In every relationship there is [usually] a caretaker and there is someone who needs to be cared for. We were that for each other, and now I don't have anyone to care for me or someone for me to care for them. But he wanted this for me so much. My reign [as Olympia] will be as much -- if not more -- for him as it is for me."

And Allen did want Sapphire to be Empress of Seattle, so much so he'd already been planning a surprise for his beloved to spring upon her during Coronation. "I was cleaning the house the other day," she recalled with a smile. "On the sewing machine in the living room there was a white box. I was thinking, 'this white box is about the size of a ring box, but, why is there a ring box in my house? That's not mine.' So I opened it, and it was this ring right here," Sapphire leans forward to show me a gorgeous silver ring with a magnificent red stone right at the center, "and it was my size."

"And so I found this on Tuesday, and Allen passed on Friday, and I asked a friend of ours where this ring had come from. That's when he told me Allen had planned on giving it to me the night of Coronation. And so I had to wear it, I just had to. It was perfect and it allowed me to have Allen on-stage right there with me."

"I don't know if I have as much strength as she does," said Dubois. "I don't know anyone who could say they could go through all this and still put on that smile. It's very inspiring."

"Look, I will tell you this," remarked Sapphire. "Most Drag Queens, they have Drag Mothers, but it was Allen who first put me in Drag. When he met me, I was just fresh out of the military. So, I was like 145-pounds, all muscle, and he looked at me and said, 'You know, you'd look good in Drag.' And, I was like, Drag? What's Drag?"

A smile crosses the African American Empress' face as she recalls this story, gently rubbing away a tear as she continues. "He put me in makeup at his sister's house. Now, mind you, Allen is a red head and he's white, and so is his sister, and so he puts me in Drag and when we're all done he looks me in a mirror and says, 'You look great, but just think if we had the right makeup than you'd look really pretty!' And that's how it started. He was my Drag Father, my biggest supporter, my biggest fan, the person who always told me I could do anything."

All of this emotion comes in the midst of an International Court System in transition, and as much as she needs to take time to grieve both monarchs realize this is their opportunity to get Seattle and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community interested once again in ISCSORE. "One thing people told me when I was out campaigning was that they really wanted to see organizations in our city become more united," said Sapphire. "They wanted to see us doing joint fundraisers with one another, see the Court getting more involved with other nonprofits like The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or Lifelong AIDS Alliance."

"They also wanted us to get the word out about our JC Graytop Memorial Scholarship Fund. They wanted us to get the word out there that scholarship is something that, as a young person, you can look to the Court for help with that. That should be [one] of our main draws for people."

"I see that there are so many things that are still to come for the LGBT community in Seattle," continues Dubois. "There [are] still so many hardships that we do endure. The fact is that we are still fighting, fighting for just plain old equality. The reason I say get involved with the Court of Seattle is that, by doing so, you will get a great opportunity to make a difference."

"The really big part here is about educating people, educating the public and about getting them involved by letting them know who we are and what we are all about. That means, as Emperor and Empress we need to get involved with the community. That does not mean they need to get involved with us, but with us getting involved with them. It's no longer sitting back and asking for their support, but us going to [nonprofits] and asking them what they need from us."

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