Friday, June 5, 2009

Girlie guy

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?
Definitely not!
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 wear his 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.


  1. Thanks, John for the two great examples of role- and gender-busting. And thanks also for your own observation that there HAS to be more than one way to do anything (including housewifery)! A long-ago feminist utopian novel called "The Wanderground" had a scene that has stayed with me for the many years since I read it. In it some characters say, "Oh, we don't call it a disability until three of us together can't do something. Up to that point, it's just working together!" Here's to the lucky man that gets you and your attendant making guacamole!!! Love you, man! Joann

  2. Hello John, the post had me at the title, and as I want to comment, I do think of all the right wing conservatives who do not allow the freedom and pursuit of happiness to validate everybody, be it straight or gay. As I think of the cultural discrimination, there are the two sides to every issue, beig straight or being homosexual, being at work or being at home, and so on... the thing that bugs me about our societal prejudices is the people with their religious holier than thou approach, does not think of or consider who gets hurt, right or wrong, contradicting everything about the inclusion of and breaking down the barriers, of church, state, legislature, pastor, everything seems to be black or white, and hopefully the colors of the rainbow can change all of the hatred versus love syndrome. I applaud the gay man who has his heart worn on the sleeve, and who is unafraid of being normal, to the point of death. We need more brave individual to stay in the mainsteam and really drive home the answer to leaving the minority out of the equation. One plus one is not always two. We have the logic of math to tell us the universe is too big to comprehend, so why believe in outright exclusion when the paradox is more and more grey, finding every person as equal as every other difference, when you really think about the anthropology of race and bigotry does not compute as a human is without biological difference, for the big picture of species, has everything to do with treating each person as a dynamic biological equal. Love your post John, take care.