The last night of the competition featured more extravagant gowns, performances, and some tears.
Winning the crown
The winner of this year's Miss Gay Texas America pageant was Sofia Anderson of Brownsville, Texas, who also holds the title of "Miss Gay Rio Grande Valley America."
Although Sofia gave consistently strong performances throughout the pageant, many believe that she clinched the title during the onstage Q&A category.
Sofia responded to the judges in Spanish and said that her proudest achievement was raising her nephew "as her own son" after her brother tragically died in a car accident. The audience erupted in applause as several contestants behind Sofia wiped tears off their faces.
Sofia Anderson and first alternate Tara St. Stone will represent Texas at the Miss Gay America 2017 pageant this fall in Memphis, Tennessee.
More than gowns
In addition to the nighttime performance and evening gown events, pageant contestants also participated in a daytime "male interview" category. This portion of the pageant consists of private interviews with the five judges.
"It's essentially a job interview," said contestant Ashley Dior from Allen, Texas. "The judges really want to get to know the person behind the makeup because Miss Gay Texas America is always wearing that invisible crown."
The past Miss Gay Texas America winners (called "Forevers") also played an integral role in preparing the contestants for their male interviews and shepherded them through four grueling days of competition.
"We are who we are because of sisterhood," said Houston-based contestant Hu'Nee B. "The feeling of comradery among the girls contributes to the stability of this pageant."
"The Forevers were very supportive and mentored us," Ashley Dior said. "In particular, Gizelle B. Ashton, Miss Gay Texas America 2010, was amazing at calming us down before the male interviews."
Ashley Dior started performing in drag seven years ago, but this is her first year competing in the Miss Gay Texas America pageant. Although she did not place in this year's pageant, Ashley did win the "Pursuit of Excellence" award for the most improved performance.
"I still believe that I am a winner because I beat my own prelim," Ashley Dior said. "I am also leaving here with 30 new sisters, which is invaluable."
Ashley Dior says that her pageant experience has been very positive and that she plans on competing again next year.
"I'll definitely be back," she said. "I am going to sleep for the entire weekend and then start preparing for next year."
The Miss Gay America 2017 pageant will be held in Memphis, Tennessee, October 5-9, 2016.
More information is available on the Miss Gay America official website.