The Inside Scoop: Austin Allen

Sports editor, Madison Pierce interviews freshman Austin Allen on what it was like for him to come out as gay

Madison Pierce: At what age did you realize that you liked the same sex?

Austin Allen: My sophomore year [of high school].

MP: How did you come out to your parents?

AA: I came out to my parents separately. I had come out to my mother junior year [of high school] and my father my senior year. It was at the end of my senior year when I was dating my first boyfriend. I felt that it was time for me to tell my father, so I could finally be myself. They were both really accepting of my sexuality. I had come out to them in person.

MP: Was it hard to tell your friends? What did they say or think?

AA: I came out to my best friends before I came out ot my parents. They were very accepting.

MP: What’s a common reaction to you coming out as gay?

AA: The most common reaction that I get to coming out to people is that they either say that they already kinda knew or that they are still here for me.

MP: Any fears about being openly gay? (Jobs, making friends, etc.)

AA: I have had fears that my sexuality would affect how people think of me and how some people might not want to be friends with me. The biggest fear is that some of my family might not accept it.

MP: How do you face your fear of people not accepting you?

AA: I faced my fear by being proud of my sexuality and discovered that I do not need people’s approval.

MP: Have you been to any pride events/marches?

AA: I have been to one pride event and would like to say it is an amazing experience because you get to see people come together not to just celebrate LGBTQ, but getting to see that we are all equal.

MP: How does your experience of being openly gay compare to others?

AA: My experience of being openly gay is that I am proud of who I am. Other people that I know are—most of the time—the same way. There are some who feel like they have to closet that part of them away because of how people will think of them.


Split Views

Different queens talk about the drag experience

Imani Kotoure

Nadine Armstrong | photo editor

Current Miss Gay Wichita Pride 2k17, Imani Kotoure, has only been part of the drag community for about two years after her best friend at the time got involved.

“I had known of drag, but had not really seen any of it off screen,” Kotoure says. “When my best friend at the time got into it, and I began helping him, and learning more about the art of drag along the way I fell in love with the art.”

Kotoure’s favorite part about being a drag is getting to prep for a gig.

“I add whatever songs I am performing that night to a playlist of other songs that tend to get me ready to slay, pour a glass of wine, and some munchies, and then sit down at my vanity,” Kotoure says.

When transforming Kotoure takes three hours to paint her face for something important, but can get ready in two when needed.

After arriving at the bar, Kotoure goes backstage to become a woman.

“I tuck, and layer on like 5 pairs of compression shorts,” Kotoure says. “Then grab my body from my body bag, … which is two hip pads made out of foam …, and then two butt pads, also of the same material. I put those on under two pairs of flesh tone tights, and then I layer on about eight caramel colored ones after that, along with a pair of fishnets and my undergarment.”

Next in Kotoure’s transformation she puts on her foam breasts, costume and starts getting ready for her first number.

“My last steps are putting on my wig, nails and jewels because I always feel like they pull my looks together,” Kotoure says.

Then she is ready to go on stage and perform.

“It’s an amazing feeling to put so much time and energy into a performance and then to take it a step further and to be able to see the people in the audience, friends and family alike, live for you and all of your hard work, it’s exhilarating,” Kotoure says. “I always say, If you’re doing it right, you’ll feel like you’re Queen of the Night.”


Terri S. Aqui

Nadine Armstrong | photo editor

Former Miss Gay Wichita Newcomer 2016 and first alternate to Miss Gay Kansas Newcomer 2017, Terri S. Aqui as been active in the drag community for the last five years. She entered the drag community through an ex-boyfriend who was a drag queen.

“In the middle of our conversation I told him I thought it would be easy; something I could mark off my bucket list of things to try,” says Aqui, “so I went to the Amateur show called ‘Boot Camp.’ After your performance, the judges tell you everything you did wrong and everything they hated. I kept coming back until they couldn’t judge me anymore and 5 years later I’m still at it.”

When Aqui is getting ready for a show, she takes a nap two to three hours before the show so she can reflect and relax. When Aqui wakes up, she finds a song to perform.

“Once I wake up, I just think of a song that reflects my current mood for the moment and perform that,” Aqui says.

To keep it quiet while putting on makeup, Aqui gets ready on Facebook live. When it comes to the glamorous outfits, she orders them, but she is learning how to sew her own.

Every Saturday, Aqui hosts a show with her drag grandmother Adina Ronee at Club Boomerang called “The Saturday Night Pre-Game.”

“Being on stage is the best feeling in the world,” says Auqi, “because you are taking on a completely different persona and living a new life all in that moment. All of your problems and worries go away.”

Performing does have its challenges. Aqui has to find new and creative ways to keep the audience engaged so they do not get bored watching the same set.

“Drag is an art form, drag is self-expression, drag is beautiful and you should never judge a queen,” Aqui says, “because it takes more courage to stand in front of a group of strangers and dance your heart out in a dress than you’ll ever know.”


Harmony Nyte-Carmichael

Noah Merrell | design director

For Carmichael being a “Drag Queen” is not just dress up, it is a way for her to be her true self.

“It is a difficult thing to explain,” she says. “You know that feeling when you just get your haircut, or you know your makeup looks great? Put on those new shoes and feel untouchable? Being in drag is that feeling to me. It is nice to walk around and feel beautiful. It is even nicer when you have a crown on your head!”

Going into the show she plans everything out even days before.

“I always pack my bags the day before a show just in case I forget something I will have time to pack it before heading to the event,” she says.

She treats the packing like she is going on vacation and can plan up to a week worth of just clothing.

When it does come to show time she has to get into her persona and loosen up to help her get prepared.

“Typically on show days, I find myself jamming to the songs I will be performing that evening on repeat. I love to use my show prep as a time to become Harmony,” she says. “That being said I like to get into the mindset of what I will be doing for the evening.”

Not only is drag something she loves to do, but it has also come with some awards for her.

“I am proud to say that I am the current Miss Gay Wichita, Current Miss XY, Former Miss Boomerang, and Former Miss Wichita Pride. I am a recipient of the MImi VanHorn Evening-gown award, the Fritz Capone Talent Award, and Miss Wichita Pride – Audience Choice Award,” she says.

She also said that she strives to be the most awarded Queen in Kansas.

“I am known as a ‘pageant queen.’ I honestly just do drag to compete and win pageants. That is just me. Some queens would not be caught dead competing in a pageant,” she says.

It is safe to say that Harmony has made a name for herself in the drag world and is even recognized sometimes when she is not even in drag.

“Often times going by any of the clubs or bars I am called Harmony (in-or-out of drag) however, it is not common for me to be stopped out in public and greeted as Harmony,” she says.

Back to School

Photo courtesy of Danielle Nichols

Danielle Nichols talks about what it is like being a mother and going to school

By Tatum Sturdivant | editor-in-chief

Being a young mom in college is challenging and overwhelming, but can also be rewarding all at once.

A stigma that society has put on moms who have yet to finish college is that they will not finish, but that should not hold them back.

Danielle Nichols had her first son her senior year of high school and began taking courses at Butler that fall.

When she found out she was pregnant with her daughter, she took a break from school to figure out what she wanted to do and to save money.

Nichols is now a full-time student at Butler and had her second son the first week of last semester, but still managed to finish the semester strong.

“My teachers were great and worked with me, so I was able to catch up,” Nichols says. “[They] were very understanding and let me do as much as I could online for the first two weeks then … the rest when I returned to class.”

Nichols is currently working towards being able to do the BEST program with Emporia to become a teacher after she finishes at Butler.

The BEST program allows students to get their Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education while staying at either the Andover or El Dorado Butler campus.

In the meantime, Nichols is a server at Abuelo’s, as well as a substitute teacher.

“This keeps my schedule busy, but it is worth it,” Nichols says.

To stay organized and not forget about any prior commitments, Nichols keeps an agenda with her son’s wrestling, daughter’s dancing and her work schedule.

“Sometimes I get overwhelmed,” she says. “But I remind myself just a couple more years of this chaos, and I will be in the career I have always wanted, and it will be worth it.”

One thing having children at such a young age has forced Nichols to do is grow up fast in a short time frame.

“I missed the typical college experience that most students get like parties, dorms, sororities, but I would not change my life for anything, though,” Nichols says.

One thing that Nichols says she does struggle with is finding motivation.

“It is hard to get home from working all day and see the kids long enough to eat dinner, but then have to leave for class for the night,” she says. “My family is my biggest support [though]. If it was not for my parents’ and my husband’s support, I could not do this.”

Nichols believes that having children at a young age should not be an excuse to not finish school, but encourages other moms that want to go back to school, to do so.

“It is not easy at all, but it should be used as motivation,” she says. “Do not give up and just do it. Even if you start with just one or two classes just keep going. There are lots of moms that make it happen, and if you can get through a few years of struggles, it’ll be worth it in the end. If you look at the big picture, college is just a little chunk of time that can make a huge impact on the rest of your life.”


Dorm Dilemma pt 2


jayblack and white
photo by Madison Pierce


by Noah Merrell | design director

Going into college, sophomore Justine Fantroy had some adjusting ahead of her.

Being a transgender student living on campus, she had a lot of hoops to jump, to ensure her experience was as comfortable as it could be.

Coming from a family that was very accepting and loving of her, Fantroy says that she was not sure if she would have the same support system at Butler.

“I came from a very open-minded … Christian family,” Fantroy says. “I was spoiled, and I
was always called Justine. I am sensitive, and my mother knew this.”

She said at first the adjustment was overwhelming.

“I was very emotional when I first came here because there were sometimes I would go to the girls’ dorms, and some boys would immediately leave, and some would talk about me, and some did not understand it. And there was like a million questions thrown at me at once, and it was overwhelming at first, but then people got to know me,” she says.

After a while, Fantroy became accustomed to Butler and the students.

“They accept me, they love me, they understand me,” she says.

Justine says that Butler has had her back ever since she started coming here and she feels very welcome by the faculty and staff.

“The academic instructors have been very accepting of her by using her correct pronouns and calling her Justine even before it was her legal name,” she says.

Another way the school has accommodated for her was by giving her a dorm all to herself.

“At first I was supposed to have a roommate, but I told them I was not comfortable with it because I view myself as a female,” she says.

As of right now, there is enough room in the dorms for her to have her own, but if they ever needed to put someone in her dorm, they would move her to Cummins.

Fantroy says that by being herself people have become more comfortable with her; the little aspects of her personality help people to accept her.

“One of the things they like about me is that I do not sound masculine,” she says. “Some people have it in them, and they know I walk in my truth, and I am just myself.”

Although being transgender has been a huge part of her life, Fantroy wants people to remember she is more than that.

“I am more than just ‘Justine the transgender,’” she says.

One thing that she says defines her is her love of singing. She says she has sung in many different vocal groups at her Church and in chamber choirs.

Although Fantroy has a love for performing, she does not believe she has a place yet in the fine arts program.

“One of the hardest things that I deal with is that I can’t do fine arts, because I know that they would probably make me do boy stuff because I am still pre-op and not post-op,” she says.

Being a self-proclaimed fashionista, one of her fears with the fine arts program is having to wear a suit, since she has never worn one before, nor does she ever plan on wearing
one because it does not fit her fashion sense.

Fantroy says she keeps tunnel vision and remembers her goal and why she came to Butler in the first place and tries to hold onto her morals even in the college setting.

“I am here for one thing, and one thing only and that is my education,” she says.


Tying the Knot

photo illustration by Tatum Sturdivant

Married college students reflect on what it is like getting married at a young age

by Tatum Sturdivant | editor-in-chief

While most college students are swiping left and right on Tinder, hooking up with random people they meet at parties or wishing of meeting “the one” at a coffee shop, there are also college students who are already settling down and getting married.

Butler alumni, Sarah Slack-Kelley and David Kelley, met their freshman year of college when they were in two choir classes and a sociology class together. On December 22, they vowed to spend the rest of their lives together, through ups and downs, sickness and in health, all while still being in college.

“A big pro of getting married young is that you get to grow up together,” Sarah says. “Obviously we both still have a lot to learn about life and what we are going to do, but I love that we get to work through it and be there for each other.”

Although getting to grow up together is a major pro to getting married young, it is not the only positive thing.

“My husband is my best friend,” sophomore Kirsten Cinotto-Pfannenstiel says. “We travel, … go out on dates, [and get to] be young. … We get to learn how to do all that ‘adult stuff’ with each other. I think that can be really comforting knowing I am not alone.”

Kirsten and her husband, Alex Pfannenstiel, got married August 12. Kirsten was only 19, Alex 21. They met at Eisenhower High School when Alex was a senior, Kirsten a sophomore.

Now Kirsten attends Butler by taking courses online while living in Montana with her husband.

When the two met, Alex had already enlisted and sworn into the Air Force. They faced the hardships of a long distance relationship for two years; missing significant events in one another’s lives such as her high school graduation and his promotion ceremonies.

“It was hard to miss someone to that extent and for so long,” Kirsten says. “But we loved each other, and we knew it would pay off; we knew we would be together in the end.”

Even though it was hard doing long distance, Kirsten says that it taught the two of them a lot.

“Communication was very important in our relationship considering we saw each other every three months,” Kirsten says. “Texting, phone calls and FaceTime were lifesavers.”

While the Pfannenstiels improved their communication skills due to the fact they had a long distance relationship for so long, the Kelleys went about it a different way.

“A big thing that helped us get started was going to premarital counseling together,” Sarah says. “That helped learn about how to communicate and deal with a conflict in a healthy way.”

While the pros outweigh the cons in these marriages, that does not mean that it is not stressful.

“A con … is that marriage requires a lot of time and effort during a time in our lives that is already very busy,” Sarah says. “We often have to make some tough decisions regarding our schedules since we have to work around each other… However, this was a sacrifice we were both willing to make.”

Being with someone is all about sacrifice, whether that means being married or just dating. Sometimes that sacrifice means moving to be with their significant other.

Growing up very family-oriented, Kirsten found that it was hard to relocate to Montana after getting married.

“This is the longest I have gone without seeing my family or friends,” Kirsten says. “It took a lot of getting used to. I would wake up and forget where I was for the first couple weeks.”

After being away for five months, now it has become a lot better for Kirsten.

“It was a hard change for me,” Kirsten says, “but I was so happy to finally be here with Alex. We have made a home for ourselves here, and while I will always be a Kansas girl at heart, I am happy here in Montana.”

While getting married at such a young age has not been the easiest, both Sarah and Kirsten believe that their marriages will last, despite the misconceptions that exist.

“Today, half of [the] marriages fail regardless of whether the couple is in their 20s, or in their 50s,” Kirsten says. “I do not agree with that misconception at all. A marriage can fail regardless of the couples’ age.”

On the other hand, the Kelley’s put their faith at the center of everything they do and aim to bring God glory with how they live. This influences how Sarah feels about young marriages not lasting.

“In my opinion, marriage cannot be successful apart from God,” Sarah says. “No matter how long [or] short you wait to get married, if God is not at the center of your marriage, it is going to fail.”

With both couples being encouraged and treated with positivity by those that care about them most, they both aim to have a successful marriage, despite their age.

“Even though we were young, we knew we were ready,” Kirsten says.