CONTENT NOTE: fabulousphobia, non-binary erasure, femmephobia, transphobia, appropriation, assault, suicide, unemployment
[Image description: A stage covered in glittery confetti (which is also falling through the air) has humans dressed in colorful clothes and balloons behind the confetti in the foreground.]
Well, now I understand why people talk about drag shows as violent.
I am not a costume.
I am not your exotic fabulosity.
I am not a joke.
My gender isn’t something to be played with by people who have better genders to put on when the sun rises. My life is not your dress-up.
But my oppression has become a mannequin for your fashion show.
You might get high off the crowd’s love, but no one cheers me on when I show up at the office in an orange trenchcoat.
When I get dressed, it’s not a moment to broaden my horizons.
No, when I get dressed, it’s a fucking panic attack.
My clothes are not a performance. My gender is not a farce. This isn’t a show that will be over at the end of the night.
This is me.
I am real.
This is not cis voyeurism into trans experience. This is my daily life.
My outfits are not fabulous for your commodification or appropriation. Fabulous has become so over- and wrongly- used (do you say I am fabulous when I show up in court as myself?) that I say it isn’t my word at all. It’s yours.
I am rad, but because I am me. For me, my outfits are quotidian, and every one I wear, whether it’s Carhartts and plaid or feather boas and striped socks, is me. All of them are fabulous.
I am not only fabulous sometimes. There is no “fabulous” uniform. I am not fabulous today and drab tomorrow. I am both fabulous and boring every day.
I may panic more when getting dressed, but I don’t need your objectification of my gender expression making that harder.
It is me,
it is mine,
I am whole.
Don’t make that struggle yours by wearing my clothes as a costume and laughing at how open-minded you are. Laughing at how silly you look in all
all those bright colors.
Why is it that you get more support for looking like me for one night than I do in my entire lifetime?
If you really want to take up the mantle with us, try working to end our suicide or unemployment or assault rates.
Not wearing our clothes.
If you cared about that half as much as you did about us looking fabulous, we’d be in a fucking different place by now.
Think about that before your next drag show, your next fashion show, your next roundup of performed gender.
Who is this for?
Why are you doing this?
What reasons are helpful?
Which ones hurt?
And let me just be. I shouldn’t have to see myself paraded every which way, every sashay, myself snatched in every laugh and cheer.
This is for you.
You do this for fun. To joke at ridiculous and strangeness, what you see as an exaggeration.
I do this to live.