Earlier in the week I happened to stumble upon the film musical, Everyone’s Talking About Jamie. Some of you may remember the BBC documentary, Jamie: Drag Queen at Sixteen. If you’d like to be reminded of your age, it was easy back in 2011. By all that’s fabulous! I might even have been in my 30s back then. 😉
I don’t remember the documentary that well – I mean, it has been a decade! – but elements of its memory echoed as the musical played out. Incidentally, I happened to catch an interview with an older Jamie on Radio One’s drag podcast a few years back. It was interesting to hear how his life had developed and also, bless him, to hear his embarrassment at the idea of a show being written about it. Jamie is also interviewed on Mermaids’s podcast, She Said They Said.
Now, here’s a thing. There are times when the idea of drag comes up in certain circles. Do I do drag? No, but I have a lot of time for anyone who pushes against the gender binary and tries to be be who they need to be. Yes, some queens are fabulously over the top, outrageous even, but they are people. I would add to that they’ve had to fight prejudice and for acceptance as others in the LGBTQ+ community have as well. As a straight part timer, my privilege is that I can hold hands or hug my dear wife in public – and no-one is campaigning to remove our rights.
I do not think it’s okay for trans folk to be scornful of queens: acceptance is a tide that raises all boats. Plus, as the transgender umbrella embraces and protects so many of us, identities are merging. We’re seeing former drag stars starting to come out to transition or be open as genderfluid. Jamie talks about being non-binary and Shane Jenek (aka Courtney Act) came out as genderfluid. To listen to their stories, the commonality between there’s and mine? Enlightening and humbling – sometimes I think a lot of us humans are more alike than not.
Years ago at a focus group around the needs of folk who commuted using a motorbike or scooter, it was clear there was a wide gap in how the tribes, if you will, within that community behaved. Powerbikers who followed the racing, Northern Soul types, all weather commuters, bikers, and occasional types who sometimes used a car. We all had a very different view of the world and while we didn’t always see eye to eye, we were united on pushing for better road safety, improving bike parking facilities, and suchlike.
What I’m saying is divided we fall. There are many in the world who dislike – if not hate – those who find themselves under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Haters are actively working to push things back to the Bad Old Days. Please, don’t help them. Instead, acknowledge that another LGBTQ person’s views or life might not be yours or mine, but difference is okay. There’s no right way to be, so let’s be accepting, kind, and maybe we’ll learn something new. ❤️