DRAG SHOW IS BIG EVENT IN TEXAS
Last Friday, a drag show was held at a local coffee shop in Round rock. The coffee shop, Saradora, has been frequented by a diverse clientiele ranging from local pastors to wannabe or former 60s hip people. Apparently few people in the community knew about the event, with the exception of a small group of very hip and cool persons. Then the Austin newspaper published a story (on Saturday) describing the event and wondering how it would play in the "conservative community of Round rock." For Austin, this would have been no big deal, but for RR, well that would be another matter. The reactions were quick and predicatable. The local TV stations found it necessary to send out crews to fim the outside of the coffee shop and find pictures of some participants (photos or amateur film?). More newspaper stories were printed about the event, this time coming from the columnists who write in the manner of local wits, humorists, or lighthearted commentators. The predictable finally happened when a local pastor of a large Baptist church said that he had enjoyed the coffee shop previous, but neither he nor any of his church members could patronize a business that would cater to the gay community, especially when the event was a drag show. Leave those in Austin seemed to be the official sentiment. So now what will happen? The owner of Saradora says she has not plans to have another show, but she wondered why there was a big fuss anyway.
This type of event brings up the question of whether the gay community truly does try to stick it to the straights or whether the religious right goes out of its way to amplify any acitvity's importance by overreacting such as was done (apparently) in this case. While most religious leaders still condemn gay lifestyles, unofficially, most church members seem to be willing to permit a kind of live and let live attitude exist. Most citizens seem to want gays to enjoy equal rights in some kind of small d sense, while being ambivalent as to whether gays or gay marriage represent a real threat to the social fabric. Gays say they want equal rights and protection under the law, especially with respect to property laws and protection for their preferred partners in medical, legal, and social contexts. Yet, gay activities such as drag shows have been permitted for many years in major cities in the U. S. Not only San Francisco, but New Orleans (of which little can be said at present) has probably been the capital of female impersonators as entertainers for many, many years. Most citizens of the U. S. were unaware of such events, but also mostly did not care so long as it was restricted to a few areas of a few cities. This brings us to the current question. That is, do gays deliberately push their beliefs in the face of their most serious antagonists? Anti-gay activitists are not merely right wing conservatives, and while most citizens would prefer that the issues either go away or recede from the front lines of the news, even the most level-headed fair-minded individual will ultimately resist being pushed into a corner by his opponents. Where are we in that continuum? It is not easy to say, but at least we now have more than one area in Texas to look for female impersonators aka entertainers, albeit a good deal of chutzpah might be required to join in the festivities. While we have gone beyond La vie'n rose, we should remember that the French have lived with these themes for many years and look how they have progressed. Oops, with the current and recent antiFrancophile attitudes, this analogy comes to a dead end. C'est la vie and c'est la guerre.