One evening last month, I held a meeting outside on my back patio, where the jasmine was spectacularly in full bloom. I told my straight friends who came - bless them for not being completely bewildered - that "a queen should show off her flowers."
An attendant of mine sometimes calls me a princess. I quickly correct him, saying I am a queen. "And don’t you forget it!" I tease him.
Does this all mean that I think I’m actually a woman or that I wish I was a woman?
Some of this is a joke - but only some. I do not wish I was royally and don’t see myself as imperious - at least I hope I’m not! But I did glow with pride when the story of Sergio Garcia came out last week, even gushing about it to a few people.
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, Sergio is an 18-year-old gay senior at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles who ran for prom queen, at first as a joke, and won and was crowned. He didn’t wear a dress when he was crowned; he wore a suit. He didn’t want to or feel the need to wear a dress. "But don’t be fooled," he said, "deep down inside, I am a queen!"
You go, girl! But he’s not a girl. He’s a guy - which is the point.
Apparently, there are plenty of people who don’t like this point. A few days after the article appeared, there were several letters in the paper from people, including at least one person who claimed to be a strong supporter of gay rights, outraged that a boy would dare claim to be a queen. They either wanted him to settle for being king or to be trans. They couldn’t handle him being a queen, like those who insist that boys can’t play with Barbie dolls.
My reaction was to laugh and think that these people have too much time on their hands and to want to tell them to get a life. I also felt put on the defensive, like I could easily be invalidated, even ashamed of my gushy pride. And what about Sergio? How did he feel with all these people mocking and dissing him in the paper?
During this same period, I was shown a video on YouTube of Jay Brannan singing "Housewives." I had not heard of the singer or the song, and seeing the video was a powerful, validating revelation - even more so than Sergio Garcia.
In the video, while quiet, domestic scenes go by in the background, Jay sings about wanting to be a housewife, making guacamole while his boyfriend works on the car. He sings about wanting to do the dishes and scrub the floors while his boyfriend is barbecuing turkey burgers ("he knows I like them charred"). He sings that he wants "to have his baby...to wear his ring...to be his everything." It is evident from his sweet, infectious smile that Jay means every word of this. That this is a very real desire is also clear at the end of the song, when he sings, "...but we haven’t met. We haven’t met."
This is not about being a cool, New Age man doing his share of the housework. This is so much more than that. As with Sergio, Jay, who is very much a man and clearly sees himself as a man, doesn’t just want to expand the role of being a man. He wants to get rid of that role. In fact, he does - boldly, in your face, for all the world to see - get rid of it.
Jay may well end up being unsatisfied with the housewife role. He’ll probably find it restrictive, confining, demeaning, unattractive - as many women do. But for now, in this song, it is tremendously liberating, even empowering. It is mold-breaking.
I find the video extremely moving, probably not only because it depicts what I crave but also because it reminds me of the power of creating one’s own life. I am sad that I am physically unable to make guacamole and wash the dishes, like I want to for a boyfriend, but the video reminds me that, all my life, I’ve had to figure out other ways of doing things, if not other roles. For example, because, for various reasons, I can’t take a regular job, I’ve had to make up my own job. Besides, I have my paid attendants who can make the guacamole and wash the dishes. Surely, there’s a way for them to fit in the picture.
I love being a man. I love my shaved head, my beard and, yes, my cock and balls. I love having them and enjoying them. I don’t want to have my life without them, not as a man, as much as I respect and support those who are lead to change their gender. But, as with Sergio and Jay, I don’t think my beard or my dick should dictate what I should do or what role I have. Let me make that guacamole for my man - or at least see that it gets done - while I go shirtless in my overalls.