I’m resurrecting this blog for a moment, to comment on the latest RuPaul Drama.
When I was 16, I asked my dad to buy me a binder.
A few months later, I came out as trans. (because screw order)
A few months after that, I bought my first corset and a skirt and put together a drag costume. The year I came out, I went to a comic convention in full drag.
I bound my breasts so I could feel comfortable wearing falsies. I strapped a fake dick between my legs so I could feel comfortable wearing a skirt. I slathered on makeup to hide my real face so I could feel comfortable wearing lipstick and eyeshadow.
The first time I ever used the men’s room, I was in drag.
At that comic convention, in a corset and skirt and kick-ass boots, I proudly walked into the men’s room with the other freaks and no one batted an eye.
The next fall, I performed. There was a local, charity drag show that my friends told me about and offered to go with me to. I got up and sang the only song I knew I could lip sync to by heart: “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. At the time I didn’t even know that this was a drag anthem. Nearly a decade earlier, when I strutted in my bedroom choreographing dances to RuPaul’s “Supermodel”, I didn’t even realize what drag was. Somehow, drag was in my blood.
I got more tips than anyone that night. (For charity!)
I loved it. I was fantastic at it.
I gave it up out of fear.
I was already in a very vulnerable, raw, and insecure place. Coming out as trans is hard, and there were far fewer resources a decade ago. I was screwed over by the local gender therapist and had to fight just to get access to the life saving resources I desperately needed. It took 3 years for me to finally get top surgery. 3 years of barely being able to leave the house due to crippling dysphoria. 3 years of binding that ended up doing nerve damage.
At that time, the thought of trying to enter the drag community was terrifying. Maybe I would have been accepted, I’d like to think that, I sure as hell could have used a drag mother to teach me self-confidence and how to talk back, but the risk of rejection was too much. It would have killed me. That is not an exaggeration. I didn’t look like a drag queen was supposed to, and I couldn’t bring myself to take that risk.
This all happened before RuPaul’s Drag Race ever aired.
I didn’t find out about Drag Race until season 3 or so (apparently I live under a rock). Watching it was wonderful, it feels like being at home. Some of the wisdom Ru shared with her queens has made a very real, major impact on my life.
I would often fantasize about being on Drag Race. Wonder if I could have gotten on or won if I’d stuck with drag.
It hurts like hell to find out that the answer is “No”.
And not because I lacked the Charisma, or the Uniqueness, or the Nerve, or the Talent. (fun fact: Took me 4 years to realize what the acronym for that was!)
Solely because of my body.
It hurt like hell to hear my idol, a person I deeply respect, who has made a huge impact on me, has validated one of my deepest fears:
I don’t look like a drag queen, so I would never have truly been accepted.