Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Want to be a Part of It!

Part I: Draggin' Me Down

My friends and I tried to go to a drag show during my first couple of weeks living in Brooklyn. The show was scheduled to take place at a little coffee shop in Bed Stuy - it seemed low key and unassuming. We didn't stay. The cafe staff person (when explaining the cover charge for the show) made it known that had we come in drag we'd have received a discount. Our initial response was "if only we'd known," but my reaction that followed led me to ask what counts as drag. I was after all "dolled up" for the night out... "Doesn't femme count as a form of drag?" The answer was a self-assured "no."

To be clear, I was not opposed to paying the full cover charge, but I didn't stay. It's disappointing and painful to find myself in seemingly queer spaces that have rigid and anti-queer perceptions of gender. Let me say I completely understand that MY material realities of being a feminine-presenting, female-bodied individual are vastly different from many other (or Othered) bodies performing other/Other genders, and I in no way want to lay claim to experiences/oppressions that I have not known. But I'd really like to know how the definition of drag was policed as audience members arrived at that event... was there a genital check, and if so, what could THAT even determine? We are a community of queers aren't we?

I'm not sure the staff person we spoke to was in any way affiliated with the show or the individuals lined up to perform that night; I have no idea what connections and communications were established between the venue and performers. I do know that I expected more from this space, and it's bringing up a lot of ongoing questions for me about community and queerness and even Brooklyn. Not trying to write anything off, not to make generalizations... just to let the questions I have surface until I can make better sense of it all.

Part II: Pro Queer Femme, A Double Entendre

Well, I guess I'm a pro now: a "professional" if you will. I landed a big-girl job, and that makes me wanna wear grownup clothes without stamping out my queer femininity, the rough seams, and renegade updos. Now I need suggestions for where to shop in NYC. I have yet to learn this city, and more importantly, the "my-kind-of-places" in the city.

I still have my heart set on buying second-hand clothes, though I have recently perused Macy's in downtown Brooklyn (without much to show for it) and modcloth.com (a higher tally here). Help me out folks.

To add to my "laundry" list of preferences, I love bargains, which makes my NY shopping experience thus far seem like I'm seriously missing something. Should I give Century 21 another try? Where are some good second hand/thrift stores that might have the pro-queer-femme goods I'm seeking? "Pro-queer-femme goods"...a triple entendre, indeed.

Part III: Coney Loves Chachi

Dudes, what, what, what do you not understand? It's 8:16 AM, I'm on my way to the train station, you're at a red light, hanging out your fucking truck window, telling me how much you love me, whistling, clicking your stupid mouth, clapping, snapping... and I AM NOT LOOKING AT YOU. I do not want your attention much less to get in your fucking car. You are violating my space, my quiet, my right to get where I need to go unharassed. These streets are mine too, so fucking share them, don't take up all this space. You are gross. And disrespectful. And my biggest question for you is "DOES THIS EVER EVEN WORK?"

There are millions of women walking alone on the streets of NY. How do you pick who to harass? Or do you just indiscriminately harass every lady you think you see. Have you ever accidentally harassed your mother? Your sister? Your nana? Was it really an accident or do you just treat them like this too? Where do you get the energy? Doesn't your stupid face get tired of making all that noise? I'm tired just from being tired of you. You pollute the streets. Be gone.

In a city where exterminators are aplenty, I wish there was a service that exterminated these pesky little fuckers.

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