June is pride month here on Earth and to celebrate I thought I’d give you a round up of some of the things that made me feel super gay in the last week-ish.
1. “This is my new favorite awards show”
Those were the words my girlfriend said as James Corden sang the final notes of the opening number to kick off the 2019 Tony Awards. I’ve been a fan of award shows for a while now and have been slowly getting her more and more into them.
The Tony’s this past Sunday were no different with some wonderful moments. Rachel Chavkin took home the tony for best director for Hadestown, she was the only woman directing a Broadway show this season. Her Q+A after her acceptance speech has some really cool moments. Ali Stroker won best featured acctress in a musical and became the first person win a wheel chair to win a Tony award. Her acceptance speech was the first time I cried that night.
But the part that really had me going was the performance of The Prom. Z came running in from the kitchen when the music started and the two of us curled together as we watched little lesbian Emma go to her dream Prom and kiss her dream girl. We were sobbing by the end of it. We had heard about the show previously, but hadn’t gotten around to seeing it yet.
Well damn. We gotta see it then.
We saw it on Wednesday and I sobbed like baby. It was sweet and kind and punched you in the gut and made both Z and I feel so seen, so loved, so cherished. What on earth. The thing was is that it wasn’t a phenomenal musical. It was good, but some of the writing was sloppy, some of the performances not that tight, it was good but not fantastic. And yet the little inkling of being able to see yourself, made both our hearts expand. The show is very big on found family and on gay/lesbian solidarity. It’s about finding strength and love and not holding back. It made me have a lot of feelings.
2. Queering Queer Spaces
This last Saturday, Z and I went to a drag show in Brooklyn. It’s called Switch and Play. It’s this crazy awesome group of queers performing gender fuckery and gender celebration together. There was a performance about the murdering of innocent black boys that was both funny and intensely unsettling by Junior Mint. There was a dramatic operatic Italian something duo with Vigor Mortis and Pearl Harbor that was tear jerking and also beautiful. And then there was the burlesque performances by Nyx Nocturn and Zoe Zeigfeld where I felt incredibly incredibly gay.
The best part about the whole experience, however, is that it didn’t feel like a typical drag show. Often times I’ve felt, not unwelcome but, uncomfortable at drag shows, as if I don’t belong in the space. A space for gay men, a space for straight women sometimes when they pay well, but not really for my dkye ass. Switch and Play was different, however. It took queer seriously. It opened the night with self professed Trans Boy Drag King, Vigor Mortis, and the highlight of the evening was Zoe Zigfield crawling around on the floor picking up dollars in lingerie. It was part drag, part burlesque, a ton of fun.
Switch and Play happens on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month in Brooklyn, New York. Definitely look them up.
3. Protesting a Protest
You’re not a proper queer unless you mention that Stonewall was a riot at least once during June. Or at least thats what I tell myself as I dutifully ignore the huge rainbow section fo H&M when I go in looking for a birthday present. Pride has become corporate, and a ton of those companies aren’t doing anything with the proceeds for all their rainbow geer. It’s money going straight from queers to CEOs and just feels yucky.
Granted there are a ton of queer owned business and even rainbow lines that are donating all of their proceeds, putting them back into the Queer network. That I love. Yes yes please. Gimme gimme more. But the stupid thing about walking around when there are corporate rainbows everywhere? I feel so seen. Every rainbow I see, I see it as for me. That there is my rainbow flag, rainbow sticker, rainbow shoelaces. They’re there for me and my small dyke self. I look at each one knowingly like an old friend.
[ Aside: We’ve all heard of the black nod (I’m not black so I have not experienced it), but I think there’s something similar in dyke culture, at least. It’s eye contact, but for just a little too long, it’s the pointed noticing of a haircut or a jacket or a pair of shoes. I’ve received it and given it god damn it feels good. Community hidden in plain sight. ]
So, while I sit here enjoying corporate America during this single month out of the year, it also feels really important to keep the spirt of Stonewall alive. For the past two years, Z and I have gone to the NYC Dyke March – a march that was started some 20 years ago. It is, before anything else, a protest. It’s about showing up and being here, and remembering our community. It’s not sponsored by any corporation, it’s fully funded by private donations and volunteers.
Z and I are volunteers this year. We went to a training on Sunday and it really drove home to me what things must have looked like in the 70s and 80s for us queer folk. What did we have to go through? What did we have to endure?
All I know is that I want to help create a world where every single queer kid can feel safe and supported and loved, where every queer elder can tell their story and have a strong next of kin, where no one has to feel alone of isolated in their community because of their identity. It’s such a cliche goal – but it’s real. I’ll be marshaling on June 29th. Come say hi.