Juiced Up and Ready to Roll
I’m writing this while I’m still on an emotional high from Women’s FEST. Although I’m not ruling out residual alcohol in my system.
Women’s FEST was spectacular, and I give my thanks and accolades to everyone involved—committee, volunteers, CAMP Rehoboth staff and Board members. What a blast!
I loved it all but was particularly thankful for the evening I spent performing at The Top of the Pines. I’ll leave it to others, of course, to talk about the show, but I can tell you that for me, the venue, the audience, and the atmosphere was a joy. In my eight years of touring as a sit-down comic, my night at the Pines is among my top feel-good experiences.
And lots of it has to do with drag queens. Individually and in general.
Individually, the great Kristina Kelly worked with me to set up and run tech, and the legendary Mona Lotts gave me a hilarious and heartfelt introduction. And they both welcomed me to their dressing room and their theatrical home.
And being there on stage allowed me to talk to my audience about drag queens in general—and how pissed off I am about desperate politicians going after our gorgeous, snarky queens to appease their bigot base. My audience agreed, with cheers for drag queens everywhere.
I adore our drag queens for lots of reasons, but especially because—for all our success in fighting for our rights and LGBTQ equality—it was our drag queens helping to lead those efforts.
Drag queens and transgender women rioted in August 1966, three years before the Stonewall riots, at San Francisco’s Compton’s Cafeteria. Cross-dressing and “impersonating” a woman were illegal at the time, and transphobia kept transgender individuals out of most gay bars. So many trans people and drag performers gathered at Compton’s and were among the very first to fight—verbally and physically—for LGBTQ equality.
As for the legendary Stonewall Riots in 1969, drag queens and transgender women were instrumental in throwing the first rocks and punches there, too.
And our drag queens were front and center at our first Pride parades and influential in the success of our pioneering gay bars. I think so fondly about female impersonator Christopher Peterson performing in Rehoboth over the past quarter of a century. All of our talented local female impersonators. And the success of Billy Porter in Pose and RuPaul with his Drag Race. Drag queens are not only part of our LGBTQ culture, they have stepped well into the mainstream as RuPaul’s fans will attest.
So what the hell are these politicians doing, picking on these wonderful artists and entertainers? It’s my guess that Drag Queen Story Hour was a positively brilliant idea to lure kids away from their video games or Tik-Tok and into reading.
Last week, of all hideous things, packs of Neo-Nazis picketed and threatened performers at drag story hours at Ohio libraries and book stores. Not only is the vision of a swastika flag flying in public horrifying, but this particular cluster of haters says that in 1940s Germany, Jews weren’t the problem, gays were. I sputter to comment other than to say I’m frightened.
Tennessee just passed a law making it illegal for drag queens to perform for youngsters. In Florida a pending bill will enact large fines for venues which have drag performances where a child can spy them. Will they fine Pride organizations featuring drag queens on decorated floats tossing candy to families on parade routes?
In a country full of hideous problems, drag queens are what haters are obsessing over?
Given today’s political realities, it’s quite certain that MAGA mouthpieces who started with drag queens and transgender youth will soon come for the entire LGBTQ community when they need to widen their scope of hate. Look what they’ve already done to young women. Is gay marriage next?
I am determined to hustle my aging ass back out on the streets to fight back. There’s nothing like an angry old lesbian. I don’t even care if I get arrested. You know me, nothing is so bad if it’s worth the story you can tell.
I challenge all of us to get off our comfortable butts, cut down on TV streaming, and get busy. Let’s register voters, donate to the good guys, write letters, raise our voices, and make some good trouble! Who’s in? ▼
Fay Jacobs is the author of five published books and is touring with her one-woman sit-down comedy show, Aging Gracelessly.