My masuclinity is in no way infringed upon or diminished by my feminity. Who I am as a man is determined by how I move through the world, the results and intentions of my actions, and the way I make misakes, learn from those mistakes, and continue growing. It has nothing to do with the fact that I have a dick and balls swinging from my crotch. From time to time and day to day my external appearance will shift, change, regress, progress, and morph based on a whole host of internal and external factors. The me you see is my drag persona of the day. Yesterday, I was in softball drag...swinging a bat, pitchin' a ball, and bonding with the lady boys. Tomorrow I could be in a suit, pitching a public policy stance to a Senate staff member, and the day after may find me in high drag with a Lady Bunny wig, four inches of eye lashes, and 32" of titties all shoved into a strappy sparkly number that I picked up from Daffys. All of those would be, if I chose, me. And, frankly, all those have been me.
Today, I was reading an article in Metro Source NY about RuPaul and RuPaul's drag race. What I thought was going to be a fluff article in a free queer rag turned out to be a frank, honest, and hilarious discussion about drag and its POWER in our community. Too often, as RuPaul points out,
...drag in general has been a scapegoat for people to say, 'See! There it is! That's why gay people can't get ahead. Look at these drag queens, they don't represent us,' Ru says. "Bitch, we ain't trying to represent you. We're just doing our thing. You're the only one concerned with us representing you..."
The article continues with a quotation from my friend and Drag Race winner Bebe Benet, "Drag comes with a lot of stereotypes. But the fact is we we're just men. We're men trying to express ourselves."
Let me be really clear to the heteronormative assimiliationist dick heads (and I really do mean dick heads as it is most often biological MEN that are saying the things to which Bebe and Ru are responding)...WITHOUT DRAG QUEENS YOUR ASSMILIATIONIST-I-JUST-WANNA-BE-LIKE-STRAIGHT-FOLKS-AND-MILK-THIS-CAPITALIST-SYSTEM-AND-OPPRESS-MY NEIGHBORS ASSES would still find yourselves being hauled out of dark, grimy dank bars by the cops and having billy clubs shoved, without lube, in your married-suburban-behinds. It was NOT white men at Stonewall that led the riots. It was not power lesbians in Armani business suits...it was black and Puerto Rican Drag Queens and trans folks, people like Sylvia Rivera, who put their lives on the line and revolted. It was boys in dresses and girls in pants and ties that took to the streets on that hot night on June 28, 1969 and threw high heeled shoes through the glass window keeping us from our freedom and liberation. You owe your right to take those RSVP cruises and dance in drug orgy circuit parties to the same people that you try to hide, shame, sweep under the rug, and ignore...except...of course...when you want a night of fun, talent, and entertainment.
Trans folks and drag queens/kings should be at the front of every Pride Parade, chair of every queer organization, and on the front page of every damn queer publication from now until we can lay down our high heels, unroll our curlers, and roller skate into Freedomland!
RuPaul summed up the role of drag in our community very well, when she said, "Drag has always reminded the culture to not take itself so seriously and that you are not your car, you are not your hair color or your religion or the friends tht you hang around...You are a spiritual being having a human experience. Don't get it twisted."
I don't have it twisted Miss Ru. I know that this body and this world is shaped by the spirit within and not what I own or even the biology I was given. Thank you to RuPaul and to Bebe Zahara Benet for reminding us of who we really are. Thank you to the drag queens that took me in when I was a baby queer escaping from classes to find community in a dimly lit night club in Asheville, NC. God rest you Jazzmine James for loving me and making me laugh and smile...I bet you have one hell of a warddrobe in Heaven and can finally do drag that includes being able to change your race on demand (that was one white girl that wanted to be a black girl in the worst way). And thank you to Sylvia (say hey to Jazz for me) and to the rest of the trans folks and drag queens that, 40 years ago, threw their shoes, took to the streets, and started a revolution that ignited an entire globe. From Australia to the Arctic Circle every queer on this planet owes ya'll...and owes you big.