Saturday, January 31, 2009
I just got so tired keeping up with things, and it's been a rough few months.
Let's start from where we left off-Andrea and Brooke's wedding in DC. Actually, the suburbs, where driving is a test of wills and sanity. The wedding itself was wonderful; they made the most beautiful brides, and the happiest. Their families were there, and I got to talk to some of them. The venue was so nice, and the reception went off perfectly. I was so happy that they'd invited me, and that they felt I had to be there. That was one of the most touching things I've ever experenced.
After that, and the two fetish balls I attended and already blogged about, not much happened in the Zeldaverse. My mom and stepson were coming up for the holidays, and there would be zero time for me. I knew this was going to be a less-extravagant holiday. Financially, we are okay but we did not want to overextend ourselves. I've been out of work for over a year, and while we manage it's not always easy.
I don't feel comfortable being too specific about what happened, but my mom was very unhappy being here this year, and she's taken to drinking far more than she should. It felt like we were making her miserable, and I know there's more to things than she said. But she wouldn't talk about it, and I can't make her. No, I don't think it's about my being TG; she isin't aware of it from what I can tell. I do know that this was one of the most miserable holidays I've celebrated in years, and it was bad enough that the spouse is ready to not do anything this year...
If anything good has happened, it's been that I got to reconnect with a friend who'd disappeared for about eight months. Nikkie has had her own issues with her gender identity. Then she decided that she needed to get over it, and do what makes her happy. We had lunch at Northpark Center, caught up on things, and decided we needed to get out after the holidays.
So, after the New Year Nikkie, Christina, and I got together at The Church on a Thursday night. This is one of the few local goth/industrial nights in Dallas, and the one where the people who show up are less irritating. I wore my black mesh "Rock and Roll" top from Torrid over a black wife beater, black shorts from Dot's (My friend Solitaire introduced me to the joys of shopping where BBW black women shop-cheap clothing that fits and looks good), pink tights under black fishnets and black patent lace-up go-go boots from Electrique Boutique. Which is the outfit in the photo at the top of this post. It was great getting out with Nikkie, and meeting Christina for the first time. And dancing! I admit it, I'm stuck in an eighties new wave/punk/goth mode. Live with it, bitches.
Saturday night, I broke down and attended the local gender support group's monthly meeting. Metroplex Crossdressers Club is typical of my experience with most of these groups-not much really happens. I wouldn't have gone except that I'd told Nicole I would chaperone her to her first meeting, and we could go out afterward. I picked out a new pair of skinny jeans from Ashley Stewart to wear, with my new boots tucked in. A purple turtleneck top and my patent bomber jacket from Torrid and off I went. The meeting was, well, disappointing. Except for seeing this person who was at her first meeting, a bit shy, but we both had the same bangle bracelets on (thank you, Lane Bryant).
Not only was this Melanie's first meeting, it was the first time she'd been in a group of T-girls. She'd been dressing for years and going out, but always by herself. And I knew how she felt-I'd often gone out alone in New Orleans, and it's not always fun. After the meeting, a few girls were going to the bar at Nana in the Hilton Anatole. This is a very upscale hotel, and bar, but it's also very T-friendly. And I have to say, a wonderful place to have a drink and socialize.
The following Friday night, Nikkie, Nicole, Christina and I went out to dinner at The Bronx. It's an informal place, in the heart of Dallas' gayborhood, and always a good place to dine. A wine color turtleneck top with the jeans and boots worked perfectly. Dinner and drinks with friends? Always fabulous! This is one of the things I have missed-just being out and feeling...normal. After dinner, an early night at Station 4 where we met up with Melanie. I think we're going make an nice little social group...
Last Thursday, I went to my first GEAR mixer at the Bronx. They are another support/advocacy group, but far less internal drama than MCDC. I felt like things were more organized, and that they were more interested in actually doing things. Plus, the people there were more confident. I think I'm going back again...Oh, the outfit? A purple turtleneck sweater from Target, jean skirt from Torrid, the pink/fishnet tights, and boots with the patent jacket. It's cold out there!
Of course I'm keeping in touch with my new girls and old friends. And it's helping me feel like I'm more connected to this city, rather than still an outsider.
Emotionally, I'm still drained. I need a job, badly. And I'm at a point where I wonder if I ought to just give up and go back to school again. IT seems to be a dead end for me-not sure if it's that I'm not qualified anymore or that my old job is cutting me down that badly. Lots of family stuff. And the black dog nips at my heels...
But I'll be okay. Zelda always is.
The campy spectacle has lost favor with a generation of young gay men. Can RuPaul's new reality show bring it back?
In the nineties, drag was everywhere. RuPaul was a spokesmodel for MAC, "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" were on the movie screens, and Wigstock was this massive event in NYC. Every city had it's drag shows, pagents and performers.
But according to the author, drag has fallen out of favor because being gay is less shocking. There's less of a need to be provocative, and because gays are coming out younger and have more access to information and networking, there's less need to gather at clubs. If you have more support, why would you need to be outrageous to prove yourself?
And it's also harder to do drag now. There are fewer clubs doing shows. And where are the new divas?
The tragic and outsize divas that have long inspired drag queens are also becoming harder to find in the manufactured pop landscape: The Bette Midlers and Whitney Houstons have been replaced by Katy Perry and the Pussycat Dolls. "The sad thing is, the pop stars that were popularly impersonated in my day all had personality," says Lady Bunny. "How are you going to impersonate Rihanna? What is her personality? You don't know, because she's just a product."
And drag has become an embarrassment to some in the LGBT community. Because it is out there, and it's so non-mainstream, they see it as an impediment to their acceptance in mainstream America. Of course, truth is mainstream America doesn't accept you because of drag queens-they don't accept you because they're taught that homosexuality is a mortal sin and you're going to Hell for it. But that's beside the point...
But you know, it's not all a disaster. There's still drag out there:
That's not to say drag is dead. There will always be an audience, albeit likely a small one, for female impersonation. Underground balls and pageants continue to play a large part of African-American gay urban culture (as documented in "Paris Is Burning"). While Eason has noticed a decline in pageant interest in some parts of the country, there's been an upswing in conservative states like Missouri, Louisiana and Texas, and everybody I spoke with acknowledged that, while mainstream gay culture may have changed, pop culture works in cycles: You never know when things will come back in style.
If a drag queen is to emerge as the next RuPaul, however, she'll have to reinvent drag for the sensibilities of a generation that thinks it's seen it all. She'll have to make us want to turn off our computers, put on an outfit and head to the clubs. So whatever she does, it's going to have to be pretty damn fabulous.
I don't consider myself a drag queen, but I've admired those who do it well. It's an art, as well as expression. Drag queens often accepted me when nobody else would, and they've been a part of the transgender community forever. And yes, it was pissed-off drag queens who started off the Stonewall Riots (if you don't know what they are, go look it up yourself).
So, drag does matter. At least to me.