While I wrack my brain over how to write my next big post (okay, it might not be that big), I want to make note of something that almost escaped my mind: Today is Spirit Day, which has been held the third Thursday of October every year since 2010. It’s a day set aside for LGBTQ awareness and support, and was initially created in the wake of bullying and suicide incidents among gay youth. Spirit Day is meant to honor the LGBT youth who, sadly, felt taking their own lives was the only option to end their hurt, and also to tell the LGBT youth of today who are bullied that there are those who are very supportive (the color purple is prominently used to deliver that message).
Let’s start off this post with a quick comic book analogy, and before you think I’m a sci-fi/comic book geek, I’m not; it’s just that I read a quick blurb about this character a long while ago and felt they were apropos for this post: In the DC Comics Universe, there is a character by the name of Luornu Durgo, a strange visitor from another planet (whoops, wrong character) where the natives had the ability to split themselves into three identical bodies at will. Luornu Durgo used that that ability to overwhelm and fight evil forces, earning her the nickname “Triplicate Girl.”
Now, I imagine that Luornu Durgo could have used that multiplication ability to do other things… like, say, straighten up her house before guests came over to visit. Or… I dunno, appear in three totally separate places at once. Last week Friday, I had not one, not two, but three separate commitments occupying my entire day from pre-dawn to well past sunset. Thankfully, I didn’t have to be there all at the same time, but just the same, I felt like I had that multiplying superpower. Just call me [*insert powerful superhero music here*] Triplicate Person!
Hard to believe that it’s been a month and a day since I stepped out for the very first time as Allison in the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally. To be honest, it feels like it was only yesterday that I dressed up and marched with my fellow members of the trans community, our supporters, and folks from the broad LGBT+ community in the Madison area.
While I try to keep the euphoria of that Sunday afternoon lingering in the top of my memory for a while, if not longer, I wanted to bring up a few leftover items from the day. First off, the security. In the days leading up to the parade and rally, the organizers felt concerned about something sinister happening that afternoon, a concern escalated since it fell just days after the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. With that, they had announced on Facebook that they were working with the Madison Police Department to step up security for the event, just in case… you know…
Last weekend, I finally had the opportunity — and more importantly, the courage — to do what I had long hoped to do: March as Allison in a LGBT pride parade.
Sunday was the day of the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally (the above logo is from the event website). As you may recall my telling you in this post about last year’s parade, the event has been put on since 2014 by OutReach, which is the LGBT community resource and support center here in Madison. As it has since 2015, the parade and rally was held downtown, with the parade going up State Street and circling Capitol Square before ending at a rally point where State Street meets the square. The OutReach Pride Parade & Rally has grown each year since its establishment. In fact, this year organizers had to cut off the number of registered parade entrants at 77, needing to do so since there was just no room for more.
Happy weekend, peoples! I’m writing this post on a “tape-delay” Friday evening; hopefully, if the WordPress settings are accurate, this will be delivered to you first thing Saturday morning. Why am I writing this on Friday night and posting it on Saturday morning? Well, I’m going to be very busy not just Saturday morning but all weekend; I’ll talk my to-do list in a moment.
First, though, I want to tell you about a celebration occurring southeast of Madison, in a place called Walworth County. It’s just over 102,000 in population; it’s mostly though not entirely rural; it’s generally conservative in culture; and it’s home to the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, the Alpine Valley resort and music theater, and the vacation spot Lake Geneva. And on Saturday, it will hold its first ever LGBT “pride fair,” conducted from 10AM to 3PM on the Chamber of Commerce grounds in the county seat of Elkhorn.
For most of this week so far, I’ve been trying to write an epic post inspired by a certain site’s writing prompt. I’ve had a hard time trying to formulate a response to that post, in part because I’m taking a look at the subject with a far-too-broad scope. So, to keep my writing spirits up, I’ll fall back on another subject I’ve had percolating. Take a look at the following quote I came across a while back from the famous actress Marlene Dietrich:
“I am at heart a gentleman.”
Ms. Dietrich was a woman known for defying sexual and gender roles. I mean, she looked just as glamorous in a top hat and tails as she did in a cocktail dress, not to mention having dalliances with both men and women. You could consider that quote a summary of Marlene blurring those gender and sexual lines.
Reading her quote, I took it to heart in a somewhat similar way, in that beneath all the wigs, blouses, skirts, dresses, pantyhose, and heels I may wear is a gentleman. No, I’m don’t mean the “bro” type of gentleman who would drive a truck, down a beer or two (or several), root for the home team at the top of their lungs, and treat women as some sex object. Au contraire, mes amis (or should I say, Im Gegenteil, meine Freunde to acknowledge Ms. Dietrich’s German background), for I try to emphasize the “gentle” in “gentleman.”
I consider myself the type who treats women of all stripes — young and old; black, white, or other; cis-gender or trans — with respect and dignity. I feel it comes from the strong women I’ve encountered throughout my life, from those in my family to those in my places of employment. I’d dare say some of it comes from dressing up as a woman, too. While I may sometimes dress in an alluring and eye-catching way, I do it with the intention of presenting my feminine side in a respective way.
So, if you were to come across me somewhere (online, in person, however), know that while I may present myself as female, know that I am, at heart, a true gentleman.
Well, peoples, I got out of the house Friday night and took in a show, Stage Q’s production of Die! Mommie! Die! The play was penned by the noted playwright, actor, and female impersonator Charles Busch, who portrayed the lead role in the play’s first staging in the late 1990s and repeated the role in a 2003 film version (which I didn’t know had been filmed until looking up that link on Wikipedia this morning).
I don’t intend to make this a full-on review of Stage Q’s version, which had its final performance on Saturday, the last day of its 2016-2017 season. (Oh, the above image came from Stage Q’s Facebook page.) However, I will highlight a couple of things that I thought made their production special in my mind further down this post. Let me just say, though, that the production was a really fun, mightily campy romp (well, naturally), that the performances were perfectly done (joyously over the top and heartfelt when needed), and that I recommend you go see it if a theater company in your town produces it (hope they’ll turn up the camp as well).
I want to tell you about what I did — and didn’t — do this past Thursday night. First off, what I did do was attend a little get-together that raised funds for the LGBT pride parade in Madison this August. It was a rather simple party, with just under a couple dozen supporters and Board of Directors membership of Madison’s LGBT community center, held in the home and garden of one of the center’s longtime supporters in one of Madison’s more cozier and aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods (lots of shade trees, narrow and winding streets, beautifully manicured yards).
“There’ll be 100 million people right here in this country who will be shocked and offended and appalled and the two of you will just have to ride that out, maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You could try to ignore those people, or you could feel sorry for them and for their prejudice and their bigotry and their blind hatred and stupid fears, but where necessary you’ll just have to cling tight to each other and say ‘screw all those people!'”
– Matt Drayton to his future son-in-law in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
As important as it was to remember the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy on Monday, another important anniversary that also occurred on Monday should not be forgotten: June 12 was also “Loving Day.” What’s that, you ask? Well, it has to do with probably one of the most important decisions ever made by the United States Supreme Court — the case of Loving v. Virginia, which was cited as precedence for a much more publicized case 48 years later. Continue reading