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Drag Is Beautiful And Necessary

Editor's Note: As part of our on-going mission to hear perspectives from all sides, we invited Leslie Anne Wilkinson, a self described "proud feminist, ashamed white womxn who goes by she/her pronouns", to write guest blogs for Flappr. You can read Leslie's first blog "Decolonize Your Diet" here.


Hello readers and Happy Pride (TM) Month!


I hope your Pride (TM) Month has been every bit as fun and engaging as mine. And if not, don’t worry! You still have three weeks to catch an LGBTQ+ inclusivity event, binge-watch your favorite LGBTQ+ shows, or send your LGBTQ+ friends and coworkers a custom arranged Queer-Care package!

Our President has restored decency to this masochistically heteronormative country.

Thankfully, this year I was able to get an early start. On June 1st, I bedecked the house with rainbow flags, rainbow streamers, rainbow lights, rainbow everything! Well actually, I didn’t personally handle the decorations. I hired Miguel Fernandez and Co. Landscaping, since his prices are usually pretty reasonable and I had a hair appointment that day, but it turned out nice.


And of course, my husband Bertram and I already have several In This House We Believe… signs, as well as two Ukrainian flags (although one is technically my husband's Yacht Club flag, but it looks like the Ukrainian flag, so I think it still counts).

They were sold out of the more inclusive flags at Target so I went for volume.

However, Miguel unfortunately bought the wrong pride flag at first – it was the older one that does not adequately represent the Trans, Asexual, or BIPOC communities – so I was forced to call him back and have his guys replace it. I also took the opportunity to educate him about how important it is that we recognize these marginalized groups and show them that we care.


I’m certain that, as a Latinx person, he fully understood.


But by far my favorite part of Pride (TM) Month came last week when I took my grand kids, Charlie and Lucy, to a local Drag Brunch. Now, they were both a little hesitant at first. They wanted to go for a bike ride to the park instead, but I knew that if they could just see a drag show, it would leave an impression on them forever.


And was I ever right!


The brunch was held at this delightful gay bar called Mister Big Fist – which I can only assume is the nickname of the owner (or maybe a friend of the owner) – anyway, you can bet they went all out for Pride (TM) Month!

This sign screams "We welcome children here!" to me...

The music was blasting, the dance floor was sparkling, and there were these really neat neon signs on the walls. They were hilarious! One spelled out “Bottoms Up!” while another said “Can I Sip Your Straw?” and near the (gender neutral) bathrooms was a sign that said “Please, Come Inside Me”.


There was also one with what I felt was a particularly inspirational. It said “Take It Like A Queen!” and I was sure to point it out to my granddaughter. “You see, Lucy. That refers to how women and girls must continually strive to overcome adversity.” Lucy nodded and then quietly returned to her coloring book, no doubt lost in self-reflection.


Oh, but I’m leaving out the best parts! The staff and patrons were all so amazingly diverse and friendly, each one fabulously attired and grinning from ear to ear. I lost count of how many times someone came up to Charlie and offered to buy him a Fairy Duster, which I can only assume is some kind of non-alcoholic cocktail.


They were so fierce and friendly to the kids!

“Charlie, say thank you!” I kept reminding him, but for whatever reason he kept hunching his shoulders and staring down at his feet. Why, it was almost as if he was uncomfortable in their presence! Clearly, his behavior underscores the importance of introducing children to LGBTQ+ events and culture at the earliest possible age.


However, Charlie and Lucy seemed to perk up once the drag show began. And how could they not? Boy, was it a blast! A parade of gorgeous, amazing, proud, awesome queens strutted across the stage and through the aisles of the bar, posing and twirling and twerking like the glorious goddesses they truly are.


By far the most electrifying of the bunch was Sally Saffron, a POC queen in a ravishing red dress that highlighted her absolutely knock-out legs. She sashayed out in these wild high-heels, made a few passes around the other parents and their children, and then to my great surprise and delight, pirouetted nimbly in front of Charlie and offered him a rose.

Slay, Sally Saffron! Slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

“Charlie!” I exclaimed, “She’s choosing you! She wants you to go with her!”


And could you guess what happened? The boy refused to budge! He just nervously fidgeted and looked away. I was utterly mortified.


“It’s alright, baby,” said Sally, in a rich resonant voice that melted my heart, “The cute ones always play hard to get.”


Well, the crowd laughed wholesomely at this (and also hooted) but I was so embarrassed. When Sally opened the vent in her skirt for the children to put dollar bills in her panties, I practically had to push Lucy off her seat. I suppose she was just being shy, but a part of me also wondered if her brother’s homophobia was rubbing off on her.


“But why does she keep her money in her underwear?” Lucy asked afterwards, and here I spotted what child psychologists call a teachable moment.


“Because it makes her feel beautiful,” I replied, “After all, that’s what drag is all about. It’s about looking on the outside how you feel on the inside.”


“But I don’t get it. Are they boys or girls?” Charlie asked, and by this point, I was beginning to grow very alarmed. Who knew toxic masculinity begins at such an early age!


“No, that’s not the point at all,” I said, trying to keep calm, “The point is that you shouldn’t be afraid to express who you really are. Like if you feel happy, you might want to put on your favorite dress, for example.”


“But I don’t like dresses,” said Charlie.


“Well, maybe some boys don’t like dresses,” I answered, “and that’s okay, but you shouldn’t be too sure you won’t like something until you’ve tried it.”


Charlie seemed to take my point, but then went back to playing his Game Boy. Privately, I feared for his future. It made me sick to my stomach to think he could be gay or trans or queer and not even realize it because his homophobia (and possible transphobia) had become so deeply internalized.

What I expected versus what I got...the horror!

Truly, what is the world coming to? When awful malicious people like Jordan Peterson, Abigail Shirer, or Bari Weiss are allowed platforms to spread their unconscionable hate and bigotry? To say little of the repulsive Matt Walsh or Tucker Carlson…


In fact, I myself was once uninformed on this matter. You see, I used to think that drag queens were just an odd thing that some gay men did, but now I recognize how crucial and essential they are to dismantling heteronormative structures of patriarchal oppression. Drag queens challenge our most deeply-rooted gender stereotypes. They upend the false and arbitrary division between “men” and “women”, opening the door for all of us to truly explore our own unique gender identities, liberated from the dogmatic constraints of Western (i.e., white male) Civilization.


I can only hope my grandchildren’s experience at Drag Brunch made a positive impact, and I certainly won’t rest until they value and celebrate Queer Folkx (and especially BIPOC Queer Folkx) as much as I do. After all, if I don’t promote and make people aware of Pride (TM) Month, then who will? Schools? Churches? Major corporations? The government? No, it’s all up to you and me.


Yours in pride,

Leslie Ann Wilkinson

2 Comments


Guest
Jun 14, 2023

“Transjester” community

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Guest
Jun 14, 2023

One factor seldom noted in the discussions regarding the brave new world of Transanity and the courts is the multicultural makeup of the USA, and the effects these proposed ‘laws’ would have on multiple communities that absolutely reject this gender ideology. While mainstream media attempts to paint every protest and backlash as the work of white supremacist and MAGA people, the truth, as always, is more complex and nuanced than they let on. See the recent uproar at the Glendale, California school where a community of over 200K Armenian-Americans and Latinos stood up to the school for trying to incorporate queer studies into the curriculum. Other incidents of pushback around the country are either ignored, or portrayed as a minority…

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