I have always been enamoured by gay culture and its essential family structure. The extravagance of drag queens and ballrooms; the duck walks, suicide dips, "sashay chante" - I have an infatuation with it all! I add "Paris is Burning," "Stonewall Uprising," "To Wongfoo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar," and "Priscilla: Queen of the Dessert," to my Net-Flix list. This is clearly no one night love affair.
Growing up in a very open family, my mother never shied me away from her bevy of gay friends: men who were loud, abrasive yet charming, funny, witty, and everything "normal" men weren't - I loved them. After the death of my father, I yearned for a male in my life; and in some weird way they were exactly what I needed. They exuded femininity more than any woman I knew but you KNEW they were men - they were strong without signs of forced or excessive masculinity. They walked the fine line at times, with some women heartbroken after realizing that their love would ultimately be un-requited. They ultimately settled with being their "hags" instead - a fair consolation prize for any homosexual loving woman. From those early experiences, I realized that gay men - make me laugh effortlessly, check me when necessary and were my support system without question.
In my early 20's, my entire existence was centered around my gay friends. Those were best damn days of my life. Christopher Street, Stonewall, Chi Chi's, The Warehouse, Escuelitas - I was a frequent in the gay club scene. DJ's knew me by name, the go go boys blew me kisses, and the Queens chatted me up between sets. The same with lesbian centered events. Upon meeting my first transgender friend, I instantly sympathized with the idea of feeling trapped in the wrong body. Imagine living your life in a body you feel doesn't belong to you.
These people's struggles were BEYOND any dramatic episode I ever endured. And despite any short-comings - they manage to live as happily as they possibly can. It's absolutely admirable. Their courage intimidates hate-mongers, giving them reason to fight against them so ignorantly. With the recent surge in the mainstream media of celebs publicly outing themselves, organizing and participating in California's Proposition 8 protests and participating in the "No H8" campaign, it is slowly becoming "acceptable" to openly live an "alternative lifestyle."
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