Drag Queen Storytime

I have seen a lot of talk in the media and on the socials about all the laws people are trying to pass regarding drag queens. I will admit that I didn’t pay much attention at first, mostly because I thought it was pretty f**king stupid. Because, at the end of the day, this is: stupid. Utterly, unbelievably stupid.

Now, I’m not going to go into Trans rights. That is another stupid thing because I think that if you are a human being you deserve the exact same rights as every other human being. End of GD discussion. But the drag queen thing I will address, because frankly it’s ridiculousness catches my attention.

The first time that I saw a drag queen, she was on stage performing Girls Just Want to Have Fun at Club Marcella in 1998. Sounds a little cliche, given the tune, but I very much adored her Cyndi Lauper rendition that made me smile and laugh and feel less awkward in the situation I was in. I was 16, and back then you could get into the club with a special card that said you were 16 to 18. We would go sometimes, my group of girlfriends and I, and that first night I felt very out of place. For instance, I didn’t know very many LGBTQ people. The ones I did were adults, none of my friends had come out yet, and few were even suspected to be anything but straight and cis. At that time, for me, I was aware that I liked boys and always had, but for some reason a lot of people thought that I was gay. So I thought maybe they were right, and went through a little bit of anxiety the night we went to Marcella’s for the first time. (I should note that this is when it was a gay club on Main Street under the Tralf. Not whatever mess they made at the new location with the new setup. That place is a tragedy and should be closed.)

Anyway, I watched Cyndi perform, and I danced and sang along, and I thought it was great. My friends and I had a good time, and started going back there every other week or so. Over the years, we went to Marchella’s a lot, and eventually even got the boys to come along. We had good times there, always enjoying the drag performers. They were the highlight.

When I was 19, I decided I was going to go to the Pride Parade. This is when it was held in the Elmwood Village, and was a much smaller affair than the massive celebration we have every June at Canalside now. But I went, and I wore my Straight Ally pin on my shirt, and I thought of my dear friend Mike, who was still kind of in the closet, but if he hadn’t been, would have definitely been my side. I went for him, really. And while I was there, my lighter fell out of my pocket.

I was holding my cigarette and fumbling around, putting my purse on the ground and looking through it, when a pair of red leather stiletto boots suddenly appeared beside my bag. “You okay, honey?” I heard from above, and looked up to see the most beautiful creature attached to those beautiful boots. I got a little flustered. “I lost my lighter,” I told her, packing my items back into my bag. I stood up and looked at her outfit, nothing but red leather and sequins. Her hair was long and blonde and pulled into a high ponytail. She had lashes that girls today would be envious of and she had makeup on that we didn’t figure out how to do until late 2010s.  The point is, she was perfection, and when she pulled out a lighter and lit my cigarette for me, she became my sister.

I’ve never forgotten that moment, because it was the first time that a drag queen interacted with me one-on-one. And I am here to tell you, I survived! I was spoken to by a person in drag, and I lived to tell the tale!

Now yes, I was an adult when this encounter occurred, and of course we must protect children, right? Tell that to myself watching Bosom Buddies when I was like five. Get out of here with that. I’ve seen a man in a dress. In fact, I’ve seen a great many men in dresses both on screen and in real life, and they do not scare me half as much as a man in jeans and a flannel with a trucker hat.

Listen, if you are afraid of a drag queen, you are afraid of something within yourself. For instance, I was afraid my first night at Club Marcella- what I was afraid of, now that I’m an adult who knows things, was typical teenage sexuality coming out for the first time. Totally normal crap that every single one of my friends was going through at the same time, but back then, we didn’t talk about it. I find it interesting that older Generations think the current youth is being brainwashed by “woke” culture, when in actuality, they are just more open to talking about things. Probably because they have parents from my generation, who hate how our parents kept us in the dark. Also, way more Millennials go to therapy. Like, almost all of us. We learned to talk about our feelings, and we taught that to our children- don’t be mad just because the kids aren’t stupid and silent anymore.

Anyway, like I said, I had no problems with drag when I was a kid. I understood that it was a man in a dress for performance purpose- there was no confusion. And then I became a teenager, and I started to explore other things, and that led me to learn that it was a lifestyle for some people. Which is cool, because they are excellent performers, and as a performer myself I really appreciated their gusto. And then as an adult, I started to pay attention to real problems in the world, and never in my life did I think drag queens was going to register as something I had to write a blog about in an effort to convince people to shut up.

See, every time I see some news item with some Republican senator complaining about someone in drag reading a children’s book in the middle of a library, the headline I hear is: Volunteer Takes Time Out of Day to Assist Small Children’s Education at Local Library. And if you are against such things, pretty much sounds like you’re against education and libraries and volunteerism and kids, in which case maybe you should just lock yourself inside your house where none of the big scary drag queens can hurt you.  I mean, wow. Get over yourself.
That’s enough rant for today.  Happy Tuesday,  my friends.


One thought on “Drag Queen Storytime

  1. Cindy Bichler

    Say it louder for the folks in back, wearing flannel!. Men in drag have been around for centuries. Sad for my children to witness so much hate. Please continue speaking up!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s