First thing’s first. October 10 I am making my halloween party dreams a reality with this Zombie Queer Cabaret!! I have wanted to have a big queer bar halloween extravaganza for a long time, so it’s happening in NYC at Stonewall, in much the same format as the Femme Family Coming Out Party.
I called it Zombie Queer Cabaret & Spooky Dance Party because it was a little too early for it to be a for real for real halloween party. And Zombies are so hot right now. You should bust out your favorite costume and come party the night away with a great Femme line-up of performers!!
I’m reading the second book for Femme Book Club (entry about the first book coming soon) and I am resonating so much with Amber Hollibaugh’s My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home that sometimes I have to put down the book because I am flinching. Sometimes it cuts close to the quick, seeing your own feelings in print like that.
Thinking about my desires and what I dreamed about when I was in high school… a lot of it was pretty simple stuff. I wanted love. I hated myself so much I couldn’t even recognize how much I hated myself. I wanted so desperately to fit in and feel comfortable with my body. I wanted access to all of the cheesy girl stuff like the cheerleading squad, dance team and running for homecoming queen. (Being perky, loud and wearing matching outfits? That is still my thing.)
I didn’t feel like I was allowed access to even try out for any of those things, since I believed what everyone told me about my size–that I wasn’t beautiful and had to rely on my personality and smarts.
I also really loved beauty pageants. I have always had a thing for them. I like watching people perform, I like sparkly outfits, I like good hair and ritual. As a feminist my love for these things is always tempered with critique of mainstream standards of beauty and I love it when they are usurped in some way. I get very excited when a fat girl is on Tyra’s model show, for example.
I feel funny about people competing for something really shallow, like appearance, and for me it’s not really about who wins (though I love when they cry) as the pageantry itself. Flamboyance for the sake of flamboyance.
I never saw myself included in those shows. For one, I’m not a natural blonde, for two in my wildest dreams I couldn’t be (and wouldn’t be) a size 2. Even the plus size pageants they have (and I’ve seen them) are just not the right place for me to live out my pageant dreams.
A few years ago my friend Glenn Marla won the Miss Lez Pageant and it changed my view on pageants forever. Best described here, in the words of the pageant’s founder, Mr. Showbiz himself, Murray Hill:
THE MISS LEZ PAGEANT is a wildly provocative, insane, jaw-dropping alternative beauty pageant for queer womyn that blows the lid off of “gender representation” and shines the spotlight on New York’s underground queer scene. Six contestants chosen from thousands of applicants will be competing against each other in the following categories: PLATFORM, SWIMSUIT, EVENING GOWN, INTERVIEW, and TALENT. There are no rules and the outcome is always worth the price of admission.
Y’all, it’s the emphasis on the pageantry and flamboyance I have always yearned for. For years I’ve been wanting to be a contestant. This year my dream has come true! I found out yesterday that I will represent Fatshionistas everywhere as Miss Re/Dress!
My BFF Brian was prepping me for the contest by firing interview questions at me over lunch today. “Bevin,” he said to me with an intensity only the gay boy BFF of a pageant wannabe can muster, “I can’t let you pull a Carrie Prejean* in this contest and ruin our–I mean your–chances at winning this.”
One of my favorite movies of all time is Drop Dead Gorgeous. I’m watching it obsessively to get tips.** Of course, I’m really just excited to get to compete, especially given the caliber of the other contestants (and my friend Sarah Jenny is also a contestant).
It’s Sunday, October 11, 2009, in Brooklyn. All the details are here. I hope I can count on your support of my bid, near or far.
**Mary, the reigning Mt. Rose American Teen Princess says “With one week to go before the pageant, I was finishing my outfit, rehearsing my talent, brushing up on current events, and running 18 miles a day on about 400 calories. I was ready.” I am preparing by doing all of that, but sub in doing yoga and eating bacon for the running and anorexia.