There! Over there! Hurry!
We made a bee line to some of the last empty seats in the room, my friend in the lead and jumping over other empty seats. I must admit, for a girl who isn't very athletic, I was impressed. She snagged the closest three seats available. Sure we would have liked to have been closer to the catwalk, but at least we weren't some of the unfortunate individuals who had to stand. Or sit behind a pole.
Finally, 500+ people had filed in. The doors closed, the lights dimmed, and Taylor Swift entered the stage.
OK, not the real Taylor Swift. It was Dominique impersonating the country artist. She didn't get very far into song before Dylan ran up, chased her off stage, and began playing "F--k the Bullsh--" by 311. Dylan looked like a man. Acted like a man. Even kinda sounded like a man. But this man was, technically, a woman.
Various identities were portrayed that night, proving their point that "gender is an act. It's a verb." In hindsight, that seems rather obvious. Gender is what you associate yourself with, male or female, regardless of the parts you were born with. And of course you're going to act like the gender that you identify with. For most of us, it's easy. Our sex is our gender.
When the two conflict, well...life isn't exactly easy. "What pronoun would you give me?" Dylan asked the audience. Silence. Tricky situation, isn't it?
I tried to put the question to the back of my mind as I watched the other performances. There were several exaggerated outfits, but there were a handful that would make one squint and say "Wait, is that a chick?" I'm not going to lie, some of the guys looked better in dresses than I do! After back handsprings in 3 inch heels, and bagfuls of glitter dumped everywhere, I thought I had seen it all.
Then the show shifted gears.
"Perfect" by Simple Plan came from the speakers as a slide show played in the background. I hadn't been paying too much attention to the pictures till my friend said "aw!" I directed my attention to the slide show, seeing photos of a little girl growing up to be a man. Then it clicked--it was a story of the king being rejected by his father and, ultimately, committing suicide. Seeing my gender queer classmates on stage and having a blast, it's easy to forget that many do lead a difficult life. It's one thing to be rejected by society because of who you are, but rejection by your own parents is something that no one should experience. It's not easy for these guys to be out, but they are. And that, I think, is truly admirable.
Overall, the Rainbow Alliance organized an amazing drag show, maintaining the perfect balance between serious and comedy. Despite the free admission, their two hour show still raised $1400 for the city's AIDS Task Force. If that's not a sign of a job well done, I don't know what is.