Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 23, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY

BlogsAngel's Advocate

My Relationship with Drag

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to start trouble or anything. I just feel like some things are being said in hushed tones in the LGBT community, and they need to be brought to the light.

My relationship with drag has been a short one, but it’s steady and beautiful. It wasn’t until I met my current RA that I really gained some knowledge on the subject. (Even then, I don’t know a thing, to be honest…)  In fact, I’ll be in a drag show this Friday in Emerson Suites at 8 p.m. Please do come if you want to have a great night. The proceeds will be donated to the Trevor Project, which is an organization that supports LGBT youth that don’t have anywhere to turn. They are awesome!

But, on a similar note, I’ve been thoroughly loving RuPaul’s Drag Race.

This show is like nothing I have ever watched. It’s formatted like a reality show, but it feels more than that. It’s a competition for these queens. This is the big time and they are giving it all they have to become the next drag superstar. I love that.

Many of the contestants are so passionate. Some are lazy. My personal favorite is “Pearl.” He comes across as a total diva and can be lazy, sometimes, but he has really turned it around. He has been winning challenges and doing his thing. Congrats to him. (Let’s be friends, if you are reading this Pearl.) And I just love the hilarity that ensues on this show. Arguments. Challenges. You name it, they have it!

This whole experience has me thinking about the LGBT community on Ithaca’s campus. Now, one misconception some of the world has and that I find ABSOLUTELY problematic is that drag queens and transgender people are the same. That’s not true. It can be, I suppose, but it’s not always the case. In fact, I’ve seen on the Ithaca College campus, people cross-dressing and claiming that “gave them some insight into what it’s like to be transgender.” That’s wrong. There’s no other way of putting it.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand what people are trying to do with this. I get it. It’s a good effort… but it’s not quite what it’s been made up to be. And the fact that people are getting all this attention for what many transgender members of the community have deemed problematic seems misguided. And to any person with little knowledge on the subject, this is great. It looks like people are finally understanding and making effort… But it wasn’t done in the right way and it didn’t get the real point across.

Personally, I don’t know what it’s like to be transgender. I am not transitioning and going through body changes and struggling with gender expression. However, wearing a dress on campus and some flats does not encompass what it’s like to be transgender. Did you feel uncomfortable using the restroom society believes you should use? Did you take hormones and begin transitioning? No? Well, then you don’t know ANYTHING about the subject you claim to be “immersing” yourself in.

And I don’t want people to feel like I’m throwing shade or anything. I just feel like there needs to be some more research, fact checking, and interviews with actual transgender members of the Ithaca College community. That hasn’t been done yet, and I feel, if we are talking about journalism, it’s a key component. That’s all. (Sorry not sorry…)