I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh where no one was gay, or lesbian or bi or trans. Of course there were all of those people, but they kept it hidden. In the 80s, being gay in a small small town wasn't cute, it was terrifying. And even being thought to be gay was a slight. The worst thing anyone ever said to me in high school was that they thought I was a lesbian. I liked boys...like a LOT. So being dubbed a lesbian was like a kiss of death, and not the sexy Sharon Needles kind.
I separated myself from that small town when I was 19, moving away for college and then eventually to Los Angeles where I could be anything I wanted. I'm comfortable here, with my tattoos and my pink pixie hair. I'm not a lesbian but I probably get mistaken for one now and again, since i bite a bit of lesbian style. But lesbian's are fierce and I respect them. Calling me a lesbian now isn't a slight at all, its inaccurate, but not a dig. I stopped trying to put labels on people's sexual preferences because at the end of the day, my goal is not to judge anyone. Be who you are and own it. Whatever that looks like.
When my husband and I started watching RuPaul's Drag Race on Logo TV I was completely enthralled by the color and commentary, the strength and bravery of that community. I imagine it's hard being gay, coming out, fighting expectations, being judged. I was often judged, often had to fight expectations, never felt like I fit, I could somewhat relate. But then to compound the struggle by embracing performance and expression as a man dressed as a woman, well it seemed to me from the outside to be the hardest road to travel.
So I asked myself, why I love drag so damn much? Why does it give me such pleasure to see these fierce creatures in full regalia like exotic birds, with biting wit, and demonstrated pride? The answer is it's inspiring! But also, as a feminist, it's an over the top celebration of being a woman. And these queens make a FAR better woman that I could ever be. It's this hyper-realized version of womanhood. Every detail, every hair, nail, face, fashion statement, completely considered and brought to life. There have only been maybe 2 or 3 situations in my life where I have had the desire to scrutinize every detail of my personal presentation and that process takes hours and hours to get it all right. When I look at these queens they are serving up an outstanding version of themselves night after night and killing it. If that's not something to champion and celebrate, not only as women, but as human beings, well then I don't know what is?