Allaying the concerns of Jammie Wearing Fool

I want to allay the concerns of Jammie Wearing Fool

I find Jammie Wearing Fool’s website to be quite good. I’m a daily reader. I rarely comment there, I see no need to. I often see things pretty much as he does. Sometimes very different, but that’s to be expected. In a fine thought piece on women in the front lines with infantry I’m in agreement. I defer to his knowledge on the field, as he’s a military man. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But he talks of gay stuff in relation to the issue he’s most concerned about. And on this he’s not on such solid ground. So I’d like to calm him, and allay his concerns, and give him the knowledge I have in my field – the vaunted “gay lifestyle.” I’m sure I know a platoon or two of gay men like he knows a platoon or two of our nation’s finest. He’s always been reasonable on the gay stuff; I put him in the “gay perplexed” column. But always just a tad off, from the perplexed reality of gay folks, I’d imagine.

He says at:

“I was ambivalent on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell debate because, quite frankly, I have a great deal of confidence in the average military service member to deal with any agent provocateurs that would infiltrate in an attempt to garner some headlines and be a martyr to the gay/lesbian community, but allowing women to be in front line Infantry units is not only a bad idea, it is a deadly one.”

I would point out to the gentlemen that any such gay “agent provocateurs” would not be a “martyr” with gay folks. He or she would be cast out with scorn and anger. We would be enraged. Oh maybe one or two, like Andrew Sullivan would think it good. The 98% of us would be mad as hell. And PFC Manning is a cross we must bear, but he’s no friend of ours. We did not work this hard to come this far to prove ourselves to enjoy a whack job that would set us back for years. Not only would this imagined figure hopefully be spotted going in, but sir, you should have a lot of confidence in the average gay person joining the military to not even consider such a thing. And indeed, just the average gay person. We’re just too patriotic and too respectful of the military.

Then he continues:

“Trust is a reason I was ambivalent on the DADT question. I knew gays in the military, and while they were not in Infantry units, my contact came through the medics assigned to accompany us. I could have cared two flips less that you were gay as long as two truths remained. You could patch me up or get me to safety should something happen and you didn’t go around dressed in drag propositioning me or my men. In other words, I could count on you to do your job and all that I had contact with could and did. If they didn’t they would not have been around my unit very long.”

To which I point out that there seems to be some very mistaken heterosexuals out there on this drag thing. I’d say 99% or more of all gay men I have ever met or even just seen in a gay bar or gay parade or any event have never done drag. And we don’t wear Victoria’s Secret stuff either, geez. They are our most visible bunch, for sure. Right up there with the Speedo Brigades, whom make up maybe 5% of a gay parade – you got your cheerleaders, we got ours, why this is a problem I don’t know. But they’re entertainers. And I’d say 100% of you have never seen a drag queen out on the street strolling about – unless on the way to do a show. Even Greenwich Village doesn’t have drag queens sauntering about.

At your average drag show there might be 5 in drag up on stage and a 150 or more who are dressed in just as normal as street clothes are, with a beer in their hands. In fact, drag isn’t even really worn outside of clubs. Or on nights when there’s no show. I know drag queens, and I have never known them to do it outside the entertainment arena. Drag is a form of gay entertainment akin to female impersonators enjoyed by millions in Las Vegas. Milton Burle did drag. Jack Benny did drag. Straights and gays do drag, but gays a bit more flamboyantly. The entertainment world is straight – movies, TV, songs, videos, all of it – it’s heterosexual. There’s no gay cowboy country song yet. Not all straight women are Dolly Parton, Cher or Lady Gaga either, they’re just entertainers. So drag is entertainment just for us, done by a few dozen at most out of thousands in every city in America. I seriously doubt that any gay guy who joined the army ever did drag. And I certainly know that I haven’t. I won’t even wear pink shirts.

As for drag queens propositioning men – well, they almost all have boyfriends already. Drag queens are, oddly, often very stable people. They can make a lot of money; they pay their taxes. It’s a job even. They go to work as drag queens, not live as them. They live for years in the houses they own. They have to, they need very big closets to hold the tools of their entertaining. But when they travel from city to city on the club circuit they’re not in drag on the plane or at the gas station filling up. They have well known names, like Chi Chi LaRue. She’s gone all over the nation performing. And she’s done so very incognito like the star she is, as a guy. You’d never know.

And as for any gay guys propositioning straight men at all – oh I’m sure there’s an idiot or two – but it’s just not done. No need to. Plenty of gay men around. Don’t you see us? Perhaps your gaydar is either not working or you don’t have any, which is highly possible.

So I thank you for your ambivalence, but actually, no, it’s more than that. You have a reasoned take on the subject, born of experience and reality. Which is how we did get this far – by allaying all your concerns one by one. And boy did you folks have a lot of concerns about us! Some still do. So I hope you’ll never worry about drag queens again. Though, one day, perhaps, the National Drag Queen Association will do a USO show – and the nation’s soldiers will just howl with laughter and have their day brightened. For drag is hysterical entertainment indeed.


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