I wish I could change the casual use of the word “drag”, the way I’m sure some on the straight side of the fence would love to take back “gay” or “queer” as connotations of all things odd, something our community is working hard to defuse.
Drag is often thrown around as a negative when it’s anything but to me. These divas have held a very prominent, romantic and inspirational place in my entire gay life winding all the way back to when I had the pleasure of dating the president of the SF chapter of the Sister of Perpetual Indulgence when I was just 24 years young. Out of white face, or just “face”, he was a sexy, kinky man with tall boots and a big motorcycle; in face he was a sane and passionate leader of a diverse and dramatic group leading the charge for equality and compassion within out community and across diverse boundaries. To this day I always embrace any Sister I see in the world with the utmost affection and respect, sad that there is no longer a New Zealand chapter to support (for now).
What drag divas do is nothing short of astounding. The glam, the drama, the sheer approachability and outrageousness they embody when in frock – it’s sometimes hard to fathom how they do it. Uncountable hours are spent in front of a mirror perfecting their persona, not to mention the immaculate detail work on their headdresses and gowns that Fabergé and Charles Tiffany would assuredly marvel at. Mountains of beauty transform these often humble men into icons of the community, blowing open the shutters to their hidden personalities, allowing them to boldly go where many, including myself, would never dare.
So it ruffles my feathers to no end when I hear any degree of drag slamming. There is absolutely nothing but insecurity, ignorance and chauvinism in charge when hate speak, even quietly murmured, is pointed towards these peacocks of our community. I even had to go to bat late last year when the vivid express cover sporting a tea partying Miss Hurricane draw grumblings from our “butch” brothers who asked: “Why do you have to have a drag queen on the cover?” I’m sure you can guess what I said.
I could never do what they do and although there is a great difference between desire and ability, it’s just not my thing, nor does it have to be. After shaving my entire beard off recently for some camp drag my upper lip is still in shock, slowly allowing a little red stubble to emerge. I know it will and soon, but I am comfortable with my furry face, just as our drag sisters are at home in their flamboyant identities.
It’s their calling, so honour them. Appreciate them, laugh with them not at them and help make “drag” a very good word indeed.
| Leif Wauters