Silence. Internal voices saying, "I'm not good enough," and "I'm evil." Jibes and taunts. I talked about this some in the MBAGPP post, what it is like to stand apart from society and deal with the bigotry.
Folks are driven by these challenges in different ways. Some turn away and find new groups and families that meet their support requirements. Some close down and get angry. And some quit, unable to deal with or unable to bear the burden.
I closed down and got angry.
I've been thinking a lot about anger lately. We have a local Hamburger Mary's here in Jacksonville now. I haven't been yet, but loved going to the Hamburger Mary's in San Diego. Country night was fun. Loads of line dancing, and the restaurant was right on the strip in Hillcrest, so great area to hang out and enjoy the evening. Hamburger Mary's here in Jax has, from what I've heard, a pretty terrific drag show. The reason I'm mentioning it, some folks in the office were talking about it in what I didn't consider a respectful way.
A friend pointed out to me that guys are dressing in drag, of course folks at work are going to make fun of them.
He has a good point. No one was being blatantly disrespectful...just talking about the fun show and how 'shocked' some of our more 'straight laced' folks where when they went there for lunch. What do I really expect? I live in BFE. Also known as the south, or the bible-belt. So why did I immediately go to anger instead of seeing the humor in it?
The same friend asked why do folks dress in drag. Good question. Well, it's a form of entertainment. Drag performers are first entertainers. I told him that I think, for gay kids growing up in such a repressive society, that acting or performing as someone else, is incredibly freeing and rewarding. And if that alter-ego persona happens to be fabulous, then drag might be the way to go. :-) Drag isn't about wanting to be a woman, as RuPaul is famous for saying,
It’s taken me awhile to accept the fact that I’m a big ole Black man who, like a nurse, fireman, or any other professional, wears a uniform to work-only mine is drag.
The confusion seems to be many people confuse transgender with drag performer, or assume performing in drag involves a fetishism. (People believe a lot of wacky stuff.)
I've been watching old episodes of the terrifically entertaining RuPaul's Drag Race, to catch up to the current season. In season 2, one of the cast, I think it was Raven, made a comment about being filled with anger for so long. The comment and the back story solidified all the thoughts about anger that I've been having lately, and the pieces clicked into place. Yes! I found the situation very relatable. Anger's roots are in fear; fear of others, fear of reactions, fear of being alone. Anger certainly has fertile ground. However, there is plenty these days to counteract the anger, to hoe the fear and cultivate a bumper crop of hope and joy.
Can the metaphorical crap! There's real reason to celebrate. Every day new states/countries are maturing and civilizing toward the LGBT community. Heck! We even have a Hamburger Mary's right here in Jacksonville!
Sadly, I think my inner diva is dead. It's probably fortunate. I don't imagine I'd make a very attractive drag queen. :-) However, I do need to work on reviving that inner persona, shed the anger and find my sense of humor again. Let's face it, people are funny.