Through a recent comment left on my blog, I discovered the blog I, Star Queen, which highlights words and images and video about the amazing performer, Star Queen. (You can even see some footage from the documentary about Star Queen in which I appear briefly as a talking head.) I had heard “she” had retired, so I feel thrilled to see her new site and to hear about her recent visit to see Lady Bunny.
I first experienced Star Queen in Memphis at a club called Backstreet. I had been out as a gay man for about five months and it was my first venture in to a gay bar to see a drag performance. My friend David Christie RAVED about Star Queen, but I walked in filled with all sorts of judgment and doubts. That was until Star Queen hit the stage and did a number to a Blossom Dearie tune. I adore Blossom, and I immediately saw so much intelligence in the humor and delivery and choices that Star Queen made.
Over the next few years I got to know Star Queen and more importantly the man behind the makeup. We became friends and spent some good times together. I was still coming to grips with myself and felt very tentative about opening up to the people in my life. Friends at that time experienced a wall I erected that I thought kept me safe. My attitude was that enough people had messed with me in the church and the ex-gay movement; I was going to keep myself from getting hurt again.
Looking back at photos from that time (like the one to the right where I am bearded and Star Queen looks fierce!) and thinking about it, I see what a powerful and wise friend Star Queen (and her everyday self) was in my life. We have since grown apart from each other, something that I hope can be fixed some day.
Thinking about the harm of ex-gay experiences, I consider what it does to relationships post-ex-gay life. How often I second-guessed people’s motives and my own fearing that I was getting involved in a emotionally dependent relationship, something that ex-gay therapists and ministers suggested was as bad as gay sex.
During those first few years I emerged emotionally shell-shocked and wounded. Hurting people hurt people, and in my case, I see how that was true some of the time.
I wish I could remember some of the wonderfully outrageous toasts that Star Queen would raise so that I could toast her back. I wish Star Queen and the man behind the makeup all the best on the journey as an artist and a wonderful human being.