No, these are not my feet! (Me, in these shoes? I’d be in a cast in no time!) If I told you they belonged to a great guy would you believe me? The saying is ‘shoes make the man’, but in this case, shoes make the DIVA!
Usually my Sunday morning consists of taking BabyGirl to religious school and either helping out, finding a quiet place to do work, or hitting the grocery stores. Yesterday, I spent my morning with people who are dedicated to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) youth find a supporting place. I was at a fundraising brunch for the phenomenal organziation 1 in 10, hosted by four exceptionally talented drag queens. And get this, I was complimented by a gay guy who said I looked fabulous! Where do I sign up for more of these events?
Many people don’t know that I’ve known gay people and drag queens since I was a child. My mother was an accountant for a clothing manufacturer and there were a few young ladies there who worked in the sewing room who, while they legally had a male name, identified themselves as women. Some were open about it, others did their best to hide it.
My mom knew them all because she handled payroll. She knew both their male and female names. And the only reason I knew Carla was also Carlos was because Carla invited my family to a birthday party with her family. Only her family wasn’t as accepting of him being a her so we saw what Carla looked like when she was actually a he. I was about 7 years old. And I thought it was so cool because my mom wasn’t all that into makeup and Carla was. And Carla had a lot of makeup and she didn’t sharing it with me.
Carlos was gay. Carlos identified more as a Carla. This was back in the early 1970s when we were just starting to get the idea of tolerance out in the public realm. Tolerance toward cross-dressing wasn’t high on the list though. That my mom befriended Carla and her friends speaks volumes about the person my mother was. It’s from her that I learned how to like people for who they are not what they are.
And on Sunday it came full circle and I sat among a mostly gay audience watching four talented entertainers embrace themselves and the gay community. Not all drag queens are gay. Sure, most are. But, as with most people I first meet asking if they are gay isn’t one of the top pressing questions. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter to me. Although I know it does to some.
These divas were fierce! Funny, talented, genuinely nice and exceptionally generous. They all donated their tips from the show to 1 in 10. They all know the importance of supporting LGBTQ youth, whether they themselves received or wish they could have received the support offered by such organizations they wanted to give back to a community that embraces them.
I support what this organization does because the kids they help will go on to make a difference. Just as a smile can give strength to keep going, knowing that there is support means these kids will keep on going. And be proud of who they are. Because it’s who they are, not what they are, that really matters.
Note: I’d like to thank Ticoz Resto-Bar for supporting 1 in 10 and proving a delicious brunch. The food, drinks and service were excellent!