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December 7th, 2022

Two Different Drag Shows

Are drag shows entertainment? Of course they are. Is drag fun? Yes, if you’re into that sort of thing. Is drag appropriate for children? When has it not been. I can’t count the number of times I saw men dressing up as women on TV shows and goofing around when I was a kid. In the 1950s and 60s TV and Movies could get some cheap laughs out of reversing gender roles, so long as it was understood those roles weren’t being challenged, but simply reversed for laughs. Nobody thought anything about it until gay people and our ways of drag became more visible. And in that are the other reasons for drag besides entertainment.

There are so many line items in the checklist of gay culture I just don’t tick off that I’ve been asked outright how sure I am that I’m gay. One of these is drag. I see it, I logically get that it’s a thing for lots of people (gay and straight), but at some deep personal level I don’t get it. But I respect it as an art form, and even admire the performers who are good at creating the illusions involved. Otherwise it does not interest me much at all, unless sometimes to watch the sort of adult somewhat androgynous slender male I’m often attracted to who is usually pretty good at doing drag. But when I watch a performer like that, I’m usually trying to visualize what they look like out of drag. 

I’m sure it’s because I am so plainly at the far end of the Kinsey scale. I am not much attracted to uber masculinity but the female body does zero for me and so drag just isn’t an interest. I like guys. I like watching guys. Beautiful, sexy longhaired guys. Bluejeans and light shirts that let you know what the body under them is like.  I just can’t look away. Makeup and glamor are other things that really disinterest me. I’m a sixties kid…we rebelled against faking a look in favor of natural hairstyles and skin tones. I have this theory that our libidos key on whatever fashions were in style during the time we are coming of age, and that is what you will always react to as beautiful and sexy. So I’m probably stuck in that mindset and it makes it hard for me to appreciate drag other than as an art form. When I hear people saying drag has this sexual connotation to it, I have to consider that logically, because my libido just doesn’t see it.

But there is a political aspect to it that I can see that pretty clearly; not just logically, but deep down at a gut level. You grow up hearing from every direction that you are some sort of sexual outlaw, a deviant, a pervert, a threat to the social order, for not conforming to your assigned gender role, for being something you cannot help being, and it makes you think about the why of it. You start thinking more carefully about things like gender and sexual roles. You think about them enough and you can’t help but see the wrongness in some of what you are being told has to be. The roles imposed on women. The roles imposed on men. What makes these the natural order? And then you feel a need to challenge it, if only to defend your inner self from being erased. The other thing about being a sixties kid is you almost always have this knee jerk reaction to any kind of imposed social conformity. Yes Mr. Establishment sir I am a young male and no I will not cut my hair. And I will wear my turquoise jewelry. And a ring in my ear if I want to. And so what if I’m gay and I love a man. What’s it to you.

And on top of all that, I am a geek child. Show me the science or STFU.

Why am I being asked to conform? What if I don’t?

What if I can’t?

Drag has not only been an art form in gay circles for generations, it is also a political statement about gender and sexual fluidity. At its most basic, it’s about each of us dealing with our own sexual nature on our own terms in our own ways. And it is that, without a doubt, that is the problem our recent crop of fascists have with it.

The current bellyaching about drag shows has nothing to do with protecting children any more than Anita Bryant’s Save Our Children campaign in the late 1970s did. She went on a rampage against gay people after a law was passed protecting us from job discrimination and it wasn’t Save Our Workplaces it was Save Our Children. It was, and is, a visceral attack of the sort many other hated minorities have experienced throughout history. The blood libel against Jewish people for instance, is they murdered Christian children to use their blood in Jewish rituals. But this campaign against drag shows and gay people serves a more fundamental purpose, which is to reestablish and enforce social and gender roles.

Like this if necessary…

If you think I’m being hyperbolic here, just listen to them talk about gender roles and what they view as the threat liberal democracy poses to men and to masculinity and you’ll see pretty clearly what all this is in fact about. In a lot of instances you can see homophobia as second hand misogyny. Women must submit to men not have sexual power over them because men must always be powerful and in control, but absolutely Not in a sexy and fuckable way. These wannabe men so afraid of losing power, so terrified of the idea of giving themselves to a lover, sharing themselves body and soul with another, have been showing up at drag events in their own sort of drag show, carrying weapons of war wherever that is now being allowed because guns are power, never Never Never a cute butt.

Let me tell you something about drag shows. The following is an excerpt from a post at A Mighty Girl about Ruth Coker Burks, who in 1984 beheld a hospital room door with a big red bag over it, and when she entered, the dying young man inside. For the next ten years Burks helped care for over 1,000 people dying of AIDS and even dug the graves for 40 of them herself in her family’s cemetery, when their own families would have nothing to do with them…

During this time, as the AIDS epidemic was devastating the gay community across the country, she began to get referrals from rural hospitals from across the state. “They just started coming,” she explains. “Word got out that there was this kind of wacko woman in Hot Springs who wasn’t afraid… I was their hospice. Their gay friends were their hospice. Their companions were their hospice.” Time and time again, Burks reached out to their parents but, out of the 1,000 people she cared for, she says that only a handful didn’t reject their dying children. And, although she often saw the worst in people, she says she was also privileged to see people at their best as they cared for their friends and partners with dignity and grace: “I watched these men take care of their companions and watch them die… Now, you tell me that’s not love and devotion.” Burks also saw how the gay community supported one another and her efforts. “They would twirl up a drag show on Saturday night and here’d come the money. That’s how we’d buy medicine, that’s how we’d pay rent. If it hadn’t been for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.”

Drag queens. Drag shows. “That’s how we’d buy medicine.” “That’s how we’d pay rent.” “If it hadn’t been for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.” Look at the armed fascist mobs, in full faux military garb, threatening drag shows and everyone inside, including children, while the local police stand by and watch. Remember and think about the people they’re waving their weapons at.

“I watched these men take care of their companions and watch them die… Now, you tell me that’s not love and devotion.”

In the bedrock of the need of fascism, and tyranny of any form, to set gender roles and women’s rights in stone, is the one thing it cannot abide. Love and devotion. There’s the ultimate enemy of every form of tyranny that ever was, the enemy everything they do is calculated to extinguish in mankind. So they can rule over us. Love.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Two Different Drag Shows

September 8th, 2022

Free Tibet!

Hello Chinese censors and maintainers of the Great Firewall! I’ve been watching you crawl my blog for years and years. It makes me feel so special! Say…did any of those phish emails I got regularly at work come from you too? 

Anyway…I think it’s high time I welcomed you to my little corner of the Internet Tubes! 

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it“. -John Gilmore. Internet activist, software programmer and contributor to the GNU project

Now fuck off. 

Also…

Keep Taiwan Free! 

Love, Bruce.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Free Tibet!

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