letting our idols off the hook: on fame and problematic behavior

Hello kittens,

As some of you probably know, I spearheaded an attempt to boycott the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race due to RuPaul’s defense of using the word tr***y to hurt people’s feelings.

It’s an uphill battle to call artists to task for their problematic behavior, a fact that I learned long before I boycotted RuPaul for a year (or, more accurately, a season).

You would not believe – although maybe you would – how much shit I got/get for pointing out that a feminist megastar like Kathleen Hanna is guilty of exactly the same kind of hate speech that RuPaul was.

Here’s all the evidence you need (tw transphobic language):

Le Tigre – Keep on Livin’

You’ll note that KH – a straight cisgender woman – doesn’t use slurs for gay, lesbian or bisexual people, only for trans people. And she does it in the terrible guise of supporting queers, which might be the worst part.

So, so, so many people, including my dearest friends, have given me massive gobs of shit for calling KH out for her behavior. And it’s not just this one video. It’s about 20 years of misappropriating queer identity. Need I remind you of:

Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl

In which KH asserts that there is a hot lesbian she’d like to exploit for social cache. How cutting edge. (EYESPRAIN.)

Now, to be clear, I love pretty much everything Kathleen Hanna has ever done. I have all of Bikini Kill’s albums *and* all of Le Tigre’s albums. I hold KH as a kind of heroine.

But if I can’t call her out for her shit – how the hell are we supposed to change things?

And the only defense people can come up with is: “COME ON. SHE’S KATHLEEN HANNA!”

Well, ya know what? The exact same thing could be said of RuPaul. “COME ON! SHE’S RuPAUL!”

And it is no excuse.

The uprising against RuPaul was swift and blinding (and ongoing), while the uprising against me for pointing out KH’s problematic behavior is its only equal. “Come on! SHE’S KATHLEEN HANNA!”

Right. Because KH is a feminist superstar and RuPaul – what? Flies in the face of your anti-femme bullshit second-wave politics?

This called to mind the rightful outrage enacted against Sharon Needles for using the n word.

Sharon Needles shouldn’t be out there using the n word. That’s not her word. That’s not her button to push, as I like to say.

[Sidebar: Sharon Needles also got a lot of crap for appearing in a show in a Nazi uniform, although all of the said crap completely ignored the context of that performance. During that performance, Sharon was performing this song, and as a proud Jew, I wish I could have been there to see that performance. It sounds brilliant. And PS: I never heard one damn Jew who was offended by that. If we can’t use art to critique genocide, then we may as well go back to painting wheat fields.]

Sharon deserves all the crap she got for using the n word. But where in the world was the crap for Justin Vivian Bond (as Kiki) using the n word?

In a bit that can be found on the Kiki and Herb at the Knitting Factory DVD (which, for the record, I recently purchased), Bond says that v and Herb were declared retarded at an institution earlier in their lives. Bond goes on to say (to paraphrase – sorry, I’m not going to watch the whole movie right now to get the exact quote), ‘I know it’s not politically correct to use that word these days, but it’s like when black people say n***er: we own that word.”

To riotous laughter.

Although this hardly warrants saying, I bleeped that word, not the producers of the movie.

To my knowledge, no one has ever (publicly) criticized Bond for using the n (or the r!) word in v’s act. V was also not called to task (although v was hardly the first or the only) when v took to v’s Facebook page to defend John Galliano for his antisemitic tirade – barring a comment I made on said status.

The absentee crap lies (in my opinion, all too obviously) in the fact that Bond is a well respected artist – v was even nominated for a Tony! While all Sharon has done is win a reality show.

That’s the only difference, right?

They’re both white people using the n word. Both RuPaul and Kathleen Hanna are cisgender people using the t word. But one is vaunted in respected circles, while the other is not – that is the sole difference.

This is not a defense of RuPaul or Sharon Needles – this is a critique of the absence of criticism for Hanna and Bond.

Either art is an excuse for problematic behavior or it’s not (HINT: it’s not). But the uneven application of standards stinks to high hell of letting respected people get away with problematic behavior.

We have to be able to critique our own – and just like it is problematic for Nabokovians to deny psychoanalysis of Nabokov’s work because Nabokov rejected psychoanalysis, it is problematic not to subject beloved artists to critique just because they flout said critique.

~Big Mama Schlomo

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it’s time for some herstory: now here’s the t

Hello kittens,

There’s something I’ve mentioned in passing a couple of times that I’ve come to realize really needed its own post.

Today I want to talk about the people who have a nasty, selfish, bigoted interest in preserving an artificial inviolate line between trans women and drag queens, even though clearly no such line exists.

It is transmisogynistic. It is a big ol’ mess of internalized misogyny. It is all around gross.

When you say, “drag queens do this and trans women do this,” you are making a whole slew of decisions for a whole slew of people, and it is none of your business.

It is disgusting the lengths that some people will go to to invisibilize the contributions trans women make to the drag world. There are many, many trans women who work as drag queens, and you erase them with your hate.

What it all comes to down to is the idea of the ideal trans woman: she who has had electrolysis and a series of surgeries so that she can ‘set it and forget it.’

Wait, I take it back. It goes further than that: what it really comes down to is the perverted notion of the ideal woman.

The ideal woman, so this worldview goes, should be able to roll out of bed and show her face as is to the world. She’s supposed to buy thousands of dollars worth of cosmetics but never use them, because then misogynists and women who have absorbed the misogynist worldview will call her a slut, a vamp, a temptress, a whore.

So then, the ideal trans woman is supposed to have her Adam’s apple shaved off and all the hair permanently removed from her face and she should never, ever try to enhance her appearance with makeup. Although here’s 15 hours worth of makeup videos we’re going to make you watch so that you can master techniques that we will call you a slut and a traitor for using.

[PS: if you’re over the age of 25, you have to know how to use cosmetics to cover up the fact that you’re aging without ever giving anyone the faintest hint that you’re aging and wearing cosmetics to conceal that fact.]

It’s not mysterious that these awful bigoted notions should arise. Cisgender women are constantly keeping each other in check, making sure they “don’t look like drag queens.” All you need to understand this tension is to walk down any makeup aisle in America: there’s all of this shimmery, dramatic makeup that you’re supposed to buy, but never use.

I’ve talked to my girlfriends about this. I hold up a shimmery purple eyeshadow and I say, “could I even pay you to wear this?” And even the women who wear makeup scream NO and laugh at the very prospect.

They make this makeup for somebody. And although I’m sure second-wave-style transphobes would have you believe otherwise, there are simply not enough drag queens in the world for companies like Maybelline and CoverGirl to benefit from making products just for us. Hell, maybe these cosmetics are designed to make and then fill a hole in your confidence.

But it’s gross that people should be penalized for actually wearing them.

I know the tide is turning, I know. The past few years have seen more femme acceptance than I’ve ever seen in my life. Although, 1) that’s not saying much, and 2) I’ve already enumerated some of the problems that entails.

The tide is turning, but darn it, it’s not fast enough.

The gross, bigoted ingrained notions that most people take for granted about this alleged hard line between performing in drag and transfemininity really came to a head for me during the Al and Chuck Drag Race Cruise debacle. After banning drag on this DRAG CRUISE, the involved parties assured everyone that this policy wouldn’t affect trans guests.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn was that this policy wouldn’t affect the ideal trans woman. There’s a notion lurking just barely under the surface (provided that you care to see it or can’t avoid seeing it because of who you are) that gender norms on this cruise will be strictly enforced. Don’t you dare do a smokey eye, you bad, bad trans woman, you: you’re a traitor, and you will be debarked from this boat at your expense! And don’t you DARE think about putting on that wig. There’s the plank, lady. We’ve decided you’re a drag queen now, ‘cos you didn’t live up to our rules.

While cisgender women are forgiven for the occasional flight of fancy – with a strong lip or a strong eye, NEVER both – trans women are not afforded the same leeway, even and especially if it’s their job.

When you whip up and/or reenforce this artificial line, you spit on the memory of pioneers like Marsha P. Johnson, a trans woman AND a drag queen who led the Stonewall Riots and fought equally to help the struggling street queens and trans women of NYC along with her sister in arms, Sylvia Rivera.

You spit on the likes of Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn, trans women artists working in the medium of drag.

You spit on the likes of Mx Justin Vivian Bond, a world-renowned and Tony-nominated drag queen and pioneer for people living beyond the binary. You spit on Candis Cayne, long famed as a drag queen before she became the first trans woman to play a trans woman in a prominent role on network TV.

You spit on my friends who are trans women and drag queens.

Cisgender and transgender drag queens don’t seem to find this hard to understand. So why is it so hard for everybody else?

Policing the gender expression of trans women is inextricably linked with the policing of the gender expression of cisgender women, and it plays out in the sick tension between the worldviews of advertisers and moralizers. Wear all the makeup, don’t wear any makeup – but make the choice for yourself, and don’t pretend that your choice is the same choice everyone else should make.

EVER LOVE,
Big Mama Schlomo

outlaw padding: carnival ‘rupologizes’ for drag ban

Hello kittens,

Early this morning, prominent (and wonderful) Florida drag queen Misty Eyez posted this letter she got from Carnival Cruise Lines:

This DRAG CRUISE was a joint venture of Carnival, Al and Chuck Travel and LOGO.

According to NewNowNext, LOGO was unaware of the policy:

To be very, very clear, LOGO TV had absolutely nothing to do with this decision or this letter or was even aware of its existence until alerted by someone attending the cruise.

Al and Chuck, for its part, initially took to its Facebook page to deliver this mealy-mouthed defense of the policy:

We are sympathetic to your sentiments that you have expressed via email and social media. As a gay man who has been partnered for 25 years, I have suffered many forms of discriminations because I am part of the GLBT community. But please take note, Carnival’s regulation is NOT an example of discrimination. Carnival is an ally of the GLBT community. Please understand that this cruise could not even be happening on the GLORY if Carnival was not an ally of our segment of society. When they say they are a “family friendly” cruise line they mean it in both the traditional and metaphorical sense of the phrase.

Oh, that clears it up. It’s not discrimination just because you say so!

The bullshittery at Al and Chuck continued:

Ultimately, let’s use this opportunity to set an example so that all the world can see that the GLBT community can follow rules and regulations just like everyone else. Finally, I want to say from the bottom of my heart, we have done our absolute best in creating this event. We have tried to communicate effectively and bring you the best possible experience, which we believe would not be available to you any other way. At the end of the cruise, I hope you will agree with my sentiment humbly expressed here.

It’s difficult to put into words how angry I feel right now. But putting things into words is kind of my job, so let’s go.

This is a DRAG CRUISE. Almost everyone booked on this cruise is booked because they want to see drag queens. Everyone else who is booked on this cruise is at bare minimum chill with the notion that there are going to be drag queens there.

It is not as though a ragtag band of roving drag queens boarded the USS Homophobe and set up shop, forcing padded ass and sequins down the gullets of Republican senators and their coddled future titans of industry. It is a mothertucking drag cruise!

It is shocking and shameful in two-thousand-mothertucking-twelve to see a gay travel agency sticking up for an alleged ally of the community when they throw around words like “family” to shame members of the queer community.

Period.

To see so-called allies use language that has been used for decades to scare people about queers and to see queers excuse it just so they can collect their money? It literally kept me up last night.

Al and Chuck Travel was at least crafty enough to point out that this ban (ALLEGEDLY!) would not affect trans guests:

Additionally, we know that transgendered members of our community will be aboard with us during this event. Please do not worry, Carnivals rule is not meant towards you. Your right to live your identity is always supported.

But what if a trans woman decides to do a smoky eye with an updo for a fancy dinner on your Carnival cruise? What if she – gasp! – uses a wig or a hairpiece? What if a trans woman who hasn’t had permanent hair removal runs out to get some ice before she shaves that morning? Is she suddenly a drag queen? (No, duh, obviously, but I hope you can see where I’m going with this.) Will she be debarked at her expense with no compensation?

AND AND AND. I don’t want to go off the rails on a tangent that really deserves its own post, but everyone who tries to draw this thick line between trans women and drag queens over which apparently no one ever crosses is engaged in actively dehumanizing the many trans women who are also drag queens. That shit needs to stop, and it needs to stop now.

PHEW.

So…Carnival apologized and issued a reversal of the drag ban.

I’m sorry, but that’s the no fucking duh plot point. No shit they apologized and reversed the ban.

But it shouldn’t fucking take the ire of drag queens and their fans to undo this shit, because it shouldn’t have fucking happened in the first place!

Says the apology:

Within the last 24 hours, we became aware of a miscommunication between Carnival Cruise Lines and AlandChuck.travel, who have booked a large special interest group [my emphasis] on the upcoming Carnival Glory cruise departing December 2, 2012.

The group, “Drag Stars at Sea,” includes several performances by stars from Logo TV as part of a series of private events onboard. When the group was presented to us we were advised that only the performers would be dressed in drag during the private events. However, we are now aware that this was not clearly communicated to members of the group and therefore anyone who wishes to dress in drag may do so.

Jim Dandy, y’all, it was a “miscommunication!”

Not the very clearly worded and then strongly defended memorandum that the company distributed to guests. No! It was a “miscommunication!”

EYE ROLL.

At Carnival, we are proud to carry more than 4.5 million guests every year and we welcome them all aboard. We do not practice any form of discrimination against the LGBT or any other community. We sincerely apologize for the miscommunication and for any unintended offense we have caused.

Sadly, not seeing anyone take responsibility for this isn’t shocking. It’s just gross.

Al and Chuck Travel, meanwhile, have of course taken responsibility…for reversing the ban after the fact, that is.

Al has spent much of the day today with the cruise line executives, fine tuning many of the issues our guests have faced from the email and other items brought to our attention.

Al and Chuck’s tea culpa continues, begging their guests to show some respect for Carnival, ‘cos, ya know, they like the gays and stuff. Just not the ones who pay their bills, apparently.

Carnival’s gross retraction included this little gem:

Please keep in mind that our safety and security procedures require guests to present government-issued ID, and to be recognizably that person.

Every genderfucker knows what that means. Fuck, everybody who’s ever changed anything about their face or had anything change about their face (injury, time, gravity, whatever) knows what that means. It means your face better look like the face in this picture, and your junk better look like what I think it looks like based on this picture.

Which is in no way a sentiment exclusive to Carnival Cruise Lines. But emphasizing it in what purports to be an apology letter for banning genderfuckery on what purports to be a cruise dedicated to genderfuckery is just plain. old. fuckery.

You can keep your argument about a post-9/11 world to yourself, Carnival. And Al and Chuck, you can keep your spineless defense of this bullshit, too. ‘Cos I know a lot of gay family/ies that are going to be keeping their travel money to themselves.

~Big Mama Schlomo

keep on coming out

Hello kittens:

Happy National Coming Out Day! I was never entirely sure what the idea of the day was – mass comings out? Does that happen?

Not that it’s stopped me from feeling warm fuzzies about this day. Indifferent hipsters haven’t (yet) tamped it out like an American Spirit on the asphalt, and, more importantly, it’s a day to celebrate and support people in vulnerable situations. I like that.

I gave an NCOD speech on the Diag when I was attending the University of Michigan, probably in 2007. (Sorry, remembering dates hasn’t always been my strong suit.)

I don’t remember exactly the message of my speech, but I do remember the context. It was Sukkot, the Jewish festival of tabernacles, and Ann Arbor Chabad House had a sukkah set up in the center of the Diag, mostly to help Jewish students observe the custom of the lulav and esrog. I knew Chabad House was going to be there, and I briefly vacillated about even giving my speech. See, I wasn’t out to my ultra-Orthodox rabbi.

Not that I personally was ever Orthodox, but Chabad House is a sort of outreach organization for Jewish youth – they’ll teach anyone who wants to learn, and I was wont, from time to time, to pray and study with them. (If you met me after I got out of my last religious phase, or you just know me through this website, you’re probably a little confused right now. Just imagine how confused I was!)

In the end, I gave the speech, starting by wishing everyone a happy Sukkot and acknowledging the Lubavitchers in the center of the Diag. I waved, they waved, and my world didn’t implode. It was a couple of years before I went back to Chabad House – for one Rosh Hashanah service in the rain – but my world didn’t implode.

The point is, I guess, you never stop coming out. You’ll hear a lot of people say that, but this is my spin on it.

I’ve come out as things I didn’t know existed when I came out as gay: genderqueer, polyamorous… Things that aren’t in the Firefox dictionary. Things that might scare you a little, not to mention the people you’re coming out to.

I half-jokingly think that, just like people my age are far less likely to have one career than our parents, we’re also less likely to have just one gender and sexual identity throughout our lives.

Like I said, it’s only half a joke. But I don’t think it’s a sign that we’re flaky, or ‘special snowflakes’ or some mumble-grumble about the intertubes and how fast they move. I think it’s a credit to us and the people who have gone before us that coming out isn’t a destination, but a journey. (Ugh, sorry, but it’s true.)

Do we go through phases? Hell, maybe we do. Which is not to say that lots and lots of people don’t have stable, underlying sexual or gender identities – but those of us who don’t are starting to take our place, to say that phases might not be such a bad thing. Why would I want to cling to something I’m not anymore – and why should I pretend the thing or things I am now will be the thing or things I’ll be in the future?

I’m so happy to see the strides the queer zeitgeist has made just in the 15 years I’ve been a part of it. People are going to keep coming out as things we’ve never heard of, because everyone’s coming out builds on the coming out of people who came out before. Any one instance of coming out reenforces us as a queer whole, giving us new strength and vigor. And while I hope that the generations to come won’t pretend their new names don’t make ours outmoded or old-fashioned, I hope, too, that we give them the support and space they need to become authentically themselves – whatever that might be at any given moment.

I see a day coming when we introduce ourselves a lot more often – when we say things like “what are your identities and pronouns today?” When we, at least amongst ourselves, stop boxing people (including ourselves) in to whatever the first thing we came out as was. When we stop expecting others to present a recognizable, socially acceptable face to the world, even while acknowledging that what’s recognizable to society is informed both by prevailing norms and the ways we react to them. When established queers and new generation gender warriors stop staring each other down across an artificial divide and see that each once was or will be what the other was or will be – and that there will be no one aha moment, but an ongoing series of losses and gains, of sorrows and triumphs.

And did I mention coming out feels fucking great? Not for everyone, not every time – and only you know if it’s the time and place for you. And even after you do it that first time, you’re going to have to keep doing it, over and over again. But it gets easier. And you heal the world a little every time you do.

EVER LOVE,
Big Mama Schlomo

(not my) new normal

Hello kittens:

I was casting around, looking for something to watch today, and I ended up face to face with the pilot for The New Normal, NBC’s brand-new fuck you to Modern Family.

I had known this show was going to be problematic ever since I saw the first ad:

I said I would buy the first person to correctly identify the plot of the show based on this picture alone coffee. And while I didn’t end up buying anyone coffee, my best friend’s observation more or less sums it up:

abercrombie statues with big gay erections, big gay stepford wives and a wutchu talkin bout willis reality ‘star’ kidnap children from appalachia to sonoma to build big gay family cult in unincorporated juarez, leaving a trail of blood and heartbreak across america

In reality, the premise of the show is that a successful white gay couple wants a baby, finds a surrogate with a sassy homophobic/racist grandmother, and has a sassy black assistant who sasses sassily.

Let’s just get down to it.

IS IT REALLY TWO THOUSAND AND FUCKING TWELVE AND I HAVE TO POINT OUT THE ONLY PERSON OF COLOR ON YOUR SHOW IS A SASSY BLACK ASSISTANT.

IS IT REALLY?

I’m done with all caps now.

Sorry.

NeNe Leakes delivers a great performance on your show. So why don’t you give her some more air time? Why are her only lines about stealing from her white boss or interacting with the racist grandma? (Although admittedly, her smackdown of racist grandma was probably the best part of the show.)

In fact, I’d probably watch a show about NeNe Leakes and racist grandma. I’ll never understand the sitcom formula of having the only funny/compelling people be supporting roles.

Moving on in my notes, we come to “vapid femme/grounded butch.”

So tired of this one. So tired I don’t even want to talk about it. Nexus of homophobia and misogyny, etc, etc. It’s not like there aren’t flighty femmes and grounded butches who find each other and make happy lives, but ohmysweetjesus does this representation need an overhaul. Love, my grounded femme drag queen ass.

Speaking of things that need to be overhauled, how about gay men getting away with saying UTTERLY MISOGYNISTIC CRAP on TV? You really won’t want to see the adoption agency rep. It’s cringe-worthy. Oh, and let’s not forget the fatphobic gag that continues into the next act. (“100 pounds down!” Click. Ugh.)

Oh, what was that, a joke about how scary vaginas look to you? Oh, ok, fuck you, too.

There was probably one funny joke about the appearance of vaginas. It was probably made in like 1945, NOW MOVE THE FUCK ON. Also, if you want to rent someone’s uterus for nine months but can’t bear the thought of seeing a vagina for 5 seconds, you probably aren’t ready to have a child. Just sayin’.

Also, PS, amputee joke?

I’m going to end where I probably should have started with The New Normal.

It’s really nifty that there are places where rich gay white people having babies via surrogate is “the new normal.”

But it’s not the new normal in most places. In most places, it’s very strange, and in a lot of those places, it’s also illegal.

Also, not all gay parents are wildly (mysteriously?) successful and/or white. And while we’re at it, not all gay people are wildly (mysteriously?) successful and white.

And not all gay men are misogynists who only hang out with PoC who work for them.

And this wouldn’t necessarily be a huge thing if this weren’t the preponderance of representations of gay (white) people on TV. And I put white in parentheses because white is the default assumption of gay people on TV.

Here’s the thing: I’m just not entirely sure we need more TV shows about the kind of white people who have the kind of jobs that provide them with ridiculous sums of money for almost no work.

I realize the fact that I feel comfortable criticizing a show about a gay couple – the first show about a gay couple on national TV, methinks – means that things have come a long way in recent television history.

But I don’t think there’s any more reason for a show about gay people to have to make up for it by being at least implicitly classist, racist and sexist.

Just stop sucking, TV. Just stop sucking.

And PS, I totally meant that thing about giving NeNe Leakes more airtime.

even more of your drag questions answered!

Hello Kittens:

It’s that time again. It seems I’m quickly becoming the net’s leading authority on drag shows. Well, what can I say, there are a part of my weekly life, whether I’m in drag or just clapping for my fellow (giggle) queens.

You have lots and lots (and lots and lots) of question about drag, so let’s get right to it. And make sure to watch out in this edition for some of the completely random/horrifying drag questions that bring people to my website!

Pluck it, tuck it, werk.

1. why does a man become a drag queen

‘Cos it’s awesome. ‘Cos lady clothes are fun. Because performing is exhilarating.

Assuming you’re amenable to the idea of drag, you look at it one of two ways: 1) wow, that’s so great, but I could never do that, or 2) wow, that’s so great, and I want a piece of that. People who get into drag obviously fall into the latter category.

A lot of people, even a lot of gay people, assume there’s some sort of ‘pathology’ behind wanting to do drag. It’s really just another art form, one that uses gender expression as its medium, and paints in all the colors of the MAC rainbow. It is a fun thing to do that other people find entertaining. Win-win, end of story.

2. i’m fat and i wear a wig

me too!

3. how to attend a drag show

Step 1: find a drag show.
Step 2: go to it.

I don’t mean to be flip. It’s just to say that the only way to go to a drag show is to do it. If you’d like to be the best-informed audience member you can be, please read my handy-dandy guide, “So you’re going to your first drag show.”

4. how to have fun at a drag show

Step 1: go to a drag show
Step 2: have fun at it

Again, not to be flip, but you just have to do it. Trust me, if you go to a drag show and don’t have a good time, you’re probably either an asshole or immune to fun. Which is to say: the fun will happen, you just have to sit there and let it wash over you. Hoot, stomp, clap, tip, and please drink responsibly.

5. are drag shows for gay men

Drag shows are for the people who show up. Back in the day, there were lots and lots of drag shows at straight night clubs and supper clubs.

Like showgirls, but with full-coverage foundation.

Drag shows are not exclusively by or for any one group of people. There are for people who want to have fun playing in the sandbox of gender.

6. worried boyfriend may like drag queens

Unfortunately I don’t have more info about this person’s situation. It’s not often I think of relationship advice as gender specific, but I guess this would be one of those rare cases.

So I’m just going to assume whoever typed that is a concerned straight girl.

First off, what do you mean by like? Like, as in enjoys the spectacle of drag queens? Because that’s the whole point. There aren’t too many hard and fast rules about drag, and most of them were made to be broken, but a pretty solid rule is that drag queens should damn well be entertaining. If your boyfriend likes drag queens in the thinks we’re awesome kind of way, he’s like most other people with an open mind and a sense of humor.

Or you could mean the other kind of like. Maybe your boyfriend is attracted to drag queens, and maybe he’s not. He’s the only one who knows that, and it couldn’t hurt to ask him. But let me say this: I distinctly remember my grandfather ogling RuPaul in 1993. He thought she was a woman, even if she was a bit “leggy.” I myself from time to time find my head turning towards a pretty young female-identified drag king. Being turned on by a person who is presenting as a gender you’re attracted to, even if they aren’t actually that gender, isn’t weird.

And if your boyfriend is still attracted to you? Then you probably have nothing to worry about.

7. if someone is a drag queen do you ask them about their

Nope. Probably not.

I’m kind of sad this question got cut off, but the answer is probably no. Unless it’s about something really superficial, like clothes or makeup. Otherwise, it’s probably none of your damn business. Rule of thumb: ask yourself if you would ask that question of a stranger if they weren’t a drag queen. If you wouldn’t, you shouldn’t.

8. high heels fucking machine

Don’t wanna know.

9. sweet butt drag queen in prison

See #8.

10. can you make money as a drag queen?

Yes. Can you make enough money to pay your bills? Realistically, there are probably fewer drag queens than you think who don’t have some other job, too. If you like eating on a regular basis, I wouldn’t quit your day job until drag is actually your night job.

11. gay depilation

Is there a difference? WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN TOLD?

Yo, we all remove hair the same way. Drag queens just have more to remove.

  • exfoliate
  • wet the face with lots of hot water for 30 seconds
  • apply a good shaving cream (not something that comes out of an aerosol can!) and use a fresh razor
  • rinse the face with cold water and use a good aftershave product
  • moisturize

12. how to tape yourself like a fat drag queen

I’m going to hope you mean this.

13. how do u have a drag qween friend

Be nice to a drag queen. Strike up a conversation. Be cordial and interesting. But please don’t collect a drag queen as a friend just because she’s a drag queen.

(…and maybe learn how to spell queen. NO T, NO SHADE!)

14. what’s wrong with going to a drag show?

Absolutely nothing.

All right, kittens, that’s it for another round of your drag questions! I like doing this! And trust me, I have a backlog of questions to answer, so if I haven’t gotten to your question yet, stay tuned!

LOVE,
Big Mama Schlomo

all your drag questions answered!

Hello kittens!

I’ve noticed that many of you who end up at my website come here looking for answers to questions about drag and drag shows. A lot of your queeries are valid and interesting, while the rest normally involve porn I probably don’t want to know about.

So, I thought I’d answer the questions people ask time and again, along with a those that seem particularly compelling.

Ready? OK!

1. if you’re a drag queen does that mean your gay?
drag queens who aren’t gay
are all drag queens gay

Yes, all drag queens are ghey, and if you are a drag queen, you are ghey. JUST KIDDING!

God I hope no one stopped reading before I got to the “just kidding” part.

Being a drag queen does not in any material way reflect on either your sexual orientation or gender identity.

I’ve never done a survey, but my educated guess is that the vast majority of drag queens are gay cisgender men. But just because lots or even most are doesn’t mean they all are.

Really, anyone of any gender or sexual orientation can be a drag queen. All a drag queen is someone who turns the dial on femininity (whatever that means to that person) up to 11 and then starts looking for 12.

Why do you ask? Do you want to do drag and you’re worried that might mean you’re gay?

Well, maybe you are. Heck, I don’t know, and I can’t tell you that. But what I can say is that wanting to do drag doesn’t make you gay. Being gay makes you gay. And if you’re straight or bi or whatever and you want to do drag, honey, I say go for it. No one’s gonna ask for your sexuality credentials, and maybe being a straight drag queen can be your angle at your local club or bar.

Now, are you asking because someone you know wants to do drag? Maybe your heterosexy boyfriend? Again, I can’t tell you if your boyfriend is gay or bi or whatever. But you know what? You should probably take his word for it. If your relationship is awesome and the feelings are real, there is no reason for you to feel insecure about your boyfriend puttin’ on some glitter to make the childrens smile.

2. if you attend a drag queen show are you gay
is it ok for straight men to go to drag shows?
do guys go to drag queen shows

Nope, sorry, no straight guys allowed!

KIDDING! I hope you picked up on that.

Grrl child, I don’t know what drag shows would be without straight people. I can’t speak for every bar and club, but I would venture to say that the show at my local club relies on the attendance of straight people.

We love havin’ straight people around at the shows. We will make fun of you (in a fun and edifying way). We might even make you play “What Should the Straight Man Touch?”. And it’s all in good fun, the best fun.

Now, You best not be actin’ a fool. You DO NOT need to ham it up with your butch self if you come to a drag show. And you DO NOT need to “act gay,” ‘cos that shit is offensive and stupid. You in our house, honey, so just be yourself, drink your drink, and clap for the pretty queens, ya hear?

3. why do people go to drag shows
what do they do at drag shows?
what do you think of when you think of drag shows

Why do people go to drag shows? To laugh, clap and drink. Simple as that.

What do they do at drag shows? They turn up the dial on gender (femininity in the case of drag queens, masculinity in the case of drag kings) and they werk. it. OUT! In heterosexual English: people put on highly stylized and gendered clothing to make the childrens happy.

Most drag performance comes in the form of dancing while lip syncing, but really, drag is just the template, not the art form. There are drag comediennes and drag fire twirlers and drag singer-songwriters and drag erotic dancers and drag performance artists and probably a couple of drag astrophysicists. If you’re not sure what happens at your local drag club, the only way to find out is to get your ass down to a show!

What do I think of when I think of drag shows? The best night of my week.

4. how do drag queens make money
do you tip drag queens
how much to tip drag show

How do drag queens make money? Well, honey, most of us have day jobs. If you narrowed down drag queens to people who only make money by dressing up in drag, it’s a pretty small field.

For most of us, drag is an expensive and time-consuming hobby or side gig. Don’t get me wrong, we do it because we love it. But should you tip? To the best of your ability.

For much more on tipping at drag shows, please go here.

5. fishy drag queen definition
would i make a fishy drag queen

“Fishy” means that a drag queen is particularly womanly in appearance (and, often, manner). I would advise you to use fishy with caution. You never know when you might be telling a woman she looks womanly.

Would you make a fishy drag queen? Nobody can tell you that. You’re just going to have to try it out.

If you ask me, some people put way too much emphasis on being fishy. I don’t want to spend two hours putting on makeup for no one to notice I’m wearing makeup. I’m not gonna walk around in two-inch heels if I can saunter in 6-inch heels. I’m not going to wear a dress that says, “please don’t look at me.” I want my drag to say, “look at me! Do it now!”

6. work werk meaning drag culture
what does hunty mean in drag queen?
what’s a kiki?

It’s vocabulary time! Sharpen your pencils, class is in session.

Work/werk/werq/however the fuq you wanna spell it means “get it!”, “go!”, or, basically, “I appreciate that which you are doing and I encourage you heartily to do more of that!”

Hunty (honety, whatever) is part of an odd drag phenomenon in which a T is inserted after an N in the middle of a word. I know that’s a really oddly specific rule, but nobody ever said language was logical. Some more examples of this phenomenon include “Tinta Turnter” and “good mornting!” PS, I don’t know why, but I can’t hear somebody say Tinta Turnter without laughing like a banshee.

Kiki means gossip or gossip session. By extension, some queens (maybe especially in the south?) use it to mean “hanging out,” since (some) queens spend a lot of time hanging out and gossiping!

Kai kai is when two drag queens hook up. Not to be confused with kiki.

Please note that, just as it’s not necessary or appropriate to use the three words of Korean you know with the only Korean you know, it’s not really necessary to use drag terms with drag queens just to prove you know them. Jus’ sayin’.

7. can anyone be a drag queen?

You bet your sweet ass they can. Literally anyone.

You should not let anything stop you from being a drag queen.

You might think: I don’t have the right body shape. I’m not “pretty” enough. My beard grows too fast. I don’t have the “right” identity. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have the use of my legs and drag queens have to dance.

I want you to look all those thoughts right in the face and tell them to go away.

Anyone can be a drag queen.

You know what? Being different is an asset as a drag queen. No one wants to be a cookie-cutter drag queen.

I want you to take that thing or all those things you’re afraid mean you can’t be a drag queen and turn them into the things that will make you the best damn drag queen you can be.

And to help you, I’m going to set myself a cheap drag challenge: how to do a complete drag look with $40 or less (plus freebies for things you have around the house or can probably easily borrow). In fact, I’m looking forward to it!

Okay, kittens, thanks for reading. Check back for my drag on a budget challenge and to see more answers to your drag questions.

EVER LOVE,
Big Mama Schlomo