Monday, June 25, 2018

"We Really Do Care... but not about your Melania!" Drag March 2018

Scenes from the 2018 Drag March, bottom photo of this author with Brian, aka Harmony More of the Church Ladies for Choice, and founder of the Drag March, wearing a Jesus Loves Drag T shirt.
Photo by Diane Greene Lent.

I have never been to the Drag March, the Dyke March, and the Pride March in one weekend. But this year, I did all three.  Last year we were in France so I had some catching up to do.

Without corporate sponsors or a permit, the drag feels the most free, but so does dyke march, where we cheer. But that’s for tomorrow’s blog.

The dynamics are different every year.

Most years we chant: “we’re here, we’re queer, we’re coming to take your children!” in homage to years of hysteria about homosexuality.

But with Melania wearing her I really don’t care dress as she visits childcare centers where kids are locked up and separated from their kids, it did not feel funny.

So Brian, aka Harmony More, of the Church Ladies, chants: “We really care. But not about you Melania.”  He’s wearing a t shirt with the words, “Jesus Loves Drag!”

"No one is illegal on stolen land," another sign declares. 

The drag march is where the flaming creatures come to march, as movements and ideas intersect through time.

Some of my favorite people re here.  Luca, of the Church Ladies, Randy Wicker, of the Mattachine Society, the Church of Stop Shopping Crew, queer theorist Michael Warner, and countless village heroes.  Over the weekend, Randy's old Mattachine Comrade Dick Leitsch, who he staged the historic "sip in" with a Julius, passed. 

Mattachine Society 'Sip-In,' 1966
Wicker and Leitsch at the famous "sip in" at Julius, April 21, 1966

I usually fail to achieve much of a camp, much less a glamor vibe, looking more like a tramp. Although I tend to resist essentialist assumptions, there are intrinsic limitations of heterosexuality.  Biology may not be destiny, but I do not have the camp genes that the others seem to possess here.  Others achieve all of the above, reminding us of an abundantly defiant and delicious space between this gender expression and that, where lots of us can joke and dance, and somehow feel more like ourselves than on most any other night of the year.

It’s a night for everyone to explore what drag can mean in their own lives, vamping it up, pumping it up.

“Its not just for kids,” explains Bill and Savitri’s kid.

Everyone loves the kids at the march, snapping photos.

Here everyone is a star, although there are some who proclaim themselves to be bigger stars than others, throwing a little shade.  Its all part of the ever evolving drag march. I adore the people marching in the back.

At some point, we circle up for the faerie ritual, ushering the witches from the East, West, South and North. My friend Donald sounds positively Shakespearean.  Later, he tells me about his uncle reading he was gay after Stonewall.  Why didn’t you tell me, he asked Donald.  My parents thought it wasn’t a good idea.  Well, they can be a little up tight.  Everything was fine. It was better to be out.  

And we fan out, Brian leading us West, everyone prancing and vamping it up.

Everyone looks so glamorous.  I want to snap photos and dance with everyone. 

With a beer in one hand, JC, rides downtown legend Rollerena, of Studio 54 Fame.

“Can I bring a proseco?” he asks, referring to my conversation with Luca earlier on.

I make my way from the front of the march to the back.  A crew of kids is dancing to a book box in the middle of the parade. Drummers entertaining us in the back. The kids are posing for the paparazzi.

People are pouring out into the streets to greet the parade, as we make our way toward the Stonewall.

The crowd explodes as we sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

Its still a joyous moment, celebrating a queer history, Judy connected us to, somewhere over that rainbow.

Everyone dances in the streets, greeting friends, and making plans for the rest of the evening.
Brian, Ed and I flirt with a porn star and go over to Julius, greeting Jim as we meander oer there, stopping to snap a photo and gossip.

Arriving, it seems like the whole drag march is there, getting burgers, drinking, flirting and gossiping. Who threw who shade? How were the police?  There was no permit.  So it felt free for everyone.  And that’s what its all about.

“I know you from somewhere,” a man declares in a wig.

“Probably Jr’s in 1986 in Dallas.”


Walking home, I realized I had a pile of Eds newsheets, declaring: “Fight Back: Still Here, Still Unabashedly Queer!” newspapers, reading on my way back home.

“This is a history emergency!”
“We can make all of it so beautiful that nobody can ever look away(thank you Beyonce).”
“Be vigilant.  Be ready.”


Scenes from the drag march. 

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