By Hollis Taylor
Everything in my life has meaning of some sort. In my young adulthood I decided, after leading an aimless teenage life, that its important to do things purposely, even if it seems impossible to reach your goal. When my son was a baby it seemed so far away to imagine him grown and a functional adult – it has happened. When I was 250lbs it seemed impossible to imagine myself 150lbs… it just seemed impossible. One year ago I had the idea that it might be fun to be a drag king after attending a benefit show for a local organization called “The Foundation for Hope” I attended that benefit because I wanted to support it. I liked the ethics and I hadn’t seen a drag show in years, and I love drag! Fun thing about drag is that they always seemed to have some sort of involvement in ethical practices, drag queens have HEART! I approached a couple of queens in the bathroom and told them about my interest in being a drag king, they aimed me at the “Harrisburg Amateur Drag Race” which was a good starting place. Now, today I am actually a drag king, but what kind of king will I be?
Anyway, as the year continues I am exploring all sorts of information regarding various ways of participating in the drag world. Now keep in mind even though I had many drag queen friends I didn’t know the details of their competitions it was more of an intimate backstage experience rather than whatever they were competing for. I don’t mean sexual at all, but rather as very close friends. So now as I am entering the details and depths of the drag world as a MALE IMPERSONATOR I am feeling a bit lost. There are pageants which seemed to be a financial investment of not only those hosting it, but the ones that created the system, and maybe even the winner of the pageant. I know it costs money to enter but the winner also wins money….but I wonder who else gets money. I must ask these questions, I just want to know what or who I am supporting. I don’t know the answers to these questions but I hesitate to get too involved. Then there are the non-profits which seem to be supporting organizations and people with ideas that I can get behind, like the Foundation for Hope and Central PA Pride. I would like to get more involved in these organizations because I strongly believe in all levels of community from small to large and I like to support them at several levels.
I guess this is why a drag family is important – simply because they can help you out as you first get involved. Having a friend in all this is helpful. I have been so grateful for Jade DeVere for taking the time to answer my questions and help explain things to me. Not that I have it all down yet but I figure if I keep reaching out I will learn more! So I guess I need drag family, so far Jade DeVere has acted the most like family. Funny thing is that Belladonna feels like a sister. I am looking forward to the Lebanon Drag Christmas show coming up with Jade and some other of my favorite Queens. This is the first Christmas in a long time that I have found myself so distracted from my usual frustration with the holiday.
Drag has provided me with a creative outlet for much of my frustration with the world, among a community where I feel supported and loved. Where I can switch my gender around and I am loved for it, rather than shamed. Where I can play with being a man and I am encouraged rather than discouraged. Where I can embrace one of my favorite artistic expressions with music, dance. I truly love dance! At some point I will blog about dancing as a man and the transformative experience I have had with a lifelong love of the physical expression of music.
For now my journey in drag, gender bending, and self expression continues – holding my value system in place.