by Aimee Genter-Gilmore, PQ Monthly
Bear with me, friends. We’ve been battling a cold here in the GG household, and it’s no fun for anyone. I have spent my fair share of time (depending on if or when Oscar naps) catching up with some old trashy television friends over the past few days, and last night, I had a moment. A hippy-dippy, kum-bah-yah moment, and while it doesn’t have much directly to do with gay parenting, these are still ideals I would like to pass on to my children.
So…I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race last night and had stepped into my usual self-righteous place (the same place I visit when watching Toddlers & Tiaras, mind you). Why I have completely missed this show until this week is beyond me (maybe it was the whole “making a baby” experience). I recently realized that, perhaps through age, I was suddenly disinterested in some of my longtime favorite crappy TV shows–namely, The Real World and America’s Next Top Model. For example, a short while ago, I had inadvertently walked through a Real World taping on my way to the MAX; an encounter that, ten years ago, would have kept me buzzing with excitement for weeks. And what did I post to Facebook that night? “Just walked through a Real World taping, but I’m too old to care.”
What has this world come to?!
Backstory: In 1998, I was in my second year of college, and had moved in with a roommate who was as addicted to The Real World as I was. Once, during finals, I lured my roommate away from studying to watch a Real World marathon and almost-suddenly, the sun was up. Jump ahead five years and I’m living with my friend Pete, who had a projector and had made a habit of inviting people over to watch America’s Next Top Model on a giant screen. Let’s just say, I was once a connoisseur of trashy tv.
Finding RuPaul’s Drag Race was like seeing an old friend. It is an homage to some of the trashiest shows on TV, and a well-crafted homage, at that.
I love the smorgasbord of brassy, bodacious, old school divas and the creepy-crawly new school creatures. I love them all. I love the campy catfights. I love the pun-laden groan-worthy dialogue. I love Ru’s fabulous entrances before each judging. I love it all.
But, as I was watching an episode last night, they delved into more serious waters. In a challenge about the different colors in the gay pride flag, a couple of queens were educating the others about Stonewall. My first reaction was, “how in the world has a drag queen in the modern age not heard of Stonewall?” (but remember, please, I recently realized that I am an old lady).
My second thought, however, was about how something like Stonewall–from the outside, a seemingly-insignificant event in the world’s history–connects every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning person on the earth, from the beginning of time and all the way into the future. While I will always admit that being gay is not the only thing that defines me, being gay is what ties me to every single person who has ever marched in a gay pride parade, or canvassed for Harvey Milk, or wrote subversive literature long before we had created a movement. And hearing some of the older queens educating the younger ones about our history, it gave me some serious warm fuzzies.
Please remember, friends, that what makes us unique is that we have something that ties all of us together. Something that transcends time, race, sex, economic level, nationality, gender identity, intelligence, religion, or dietary restrictions. Isn’t that cool? Yes, we live in tumultuous times. Politics are making people crazy, the economy has put us all on our toes, and we keep scratching and clawing away for equal rights.
We are all connected. Remember that. Sometimes a queen wants to rip out her earrings and get serious. I get it. But guess what? You’re connected to her, too.