This year, the contestants were gorgeous n’ epic. Who knew a chair could be such a versatile prop?
Even though every contestant gave it her all and rawked - there was one, in particular, who I was entirely struck by: Indi Skies. She’s a relatively new performer who was recently crowned the “Closet Ball Queen for The Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire”. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds fancy. Whatever it is, she deserves it!
During the performance segment she emerged on-stage dawning a long, blonde wig and a trench coat - which, came off in no time. The “climax” of the performance entailed her shaking a water bottle and spraying it at her chest, drenching her under-swimaroos. Then, during the Q&A my contestant preference deal was sealed when she answered every question with genuine activist compassion. She was chuckle-inducing and moving.
On a sad note, last year’s Miss City Weekly was there wearing a fur shawl of some sort. It looked like a fox, with his little face and paws very evident. Poor little guy. I was reminded of one of my favorite non-gruesome documentaries, The Witness. It’s about this passionate New Yorker named Eddie who avoided animals like the plaque his entire life until he babysat a little kitten for a girl he wanted to impress. That interaction spiraled into advocating for these little guys - including animals killed for fur. It’s free to watch online and so worth it.
Anyway, back to my tale: After the performance, as my friends and I fled from the club, I was greeted by a gorgeous and unnerving sight - there Indie Skies stood, out front.
This got me pondering. Throughout all my years of being assigned female at birth and heavily pressured to be attracted to men, I just… wasn’t. Just simply, matter-of-fact, without a shred of doubt, didn’t have it. No interest. No curiosity. Nothing. It was a clear as night and day - to the extent that I never bothered dating a dude.
Despite this blatant lack of interest in “the opposite sex”, I’d never necessarily identified as “homosexual” (although I’d use it to communicate, since there isn’t really mainstream language yet for sexual orientations outside of homo/bi/hetero gender binary rhetoric). For one, being trans spurs one to over-think the whole gender bit. Which then led to over-thinking the whole sexual orientation bit. My teenage brain concluded that it was a bit bizarre to sum up an individual’s complex sexual orientation on the sole basis one attribute - gender - when there’s so much more to the equation.
For example, whenever I’m attracted to a “woman”, it’s not simply because of what anatomy she presumably has. If it was, anyone who wandered up to me with female-typical anatomy (presumably) would be fair game. Which… uh, is not the case. There are other components that play into the equation of my orientation and who I’m attracted to - level of femininity, mannerisms, voice, physique, beliefs, and other bits n’ pieces. Some pieces remain consistent, some are more important than others, … and some change and evolve with time. Sex and Gender have always been just parts of an overall picture that makes up who I’m actually attracted to.
I’m sure “mannerisms” or “voice” aren’t a part of every.single.persons orientation. It’s just as possible for “gender” or “sex” to not be a part of some (or many) orientations, too. But, it just so happens that every time I’ve been attracted to someone, being female and feminine are contributing factors.
Until situations like last night. For the first time in my life I’ve actually felt attraction towards someone assigned male at birth who's expression is very feminine. I can’t tell if it’s just the increased sex drive that comes with testosterone or genuine attraction, but in either case, it’s present. And this wasn’t my first drag rodeo. I’d been to plenty in my pre-T days and only jokingly experienced “attraction”.
I have heard of trans men who went from being attracted to women to becoming attracted other genders, including men, after hormone therapy. It’s common for adolescent cisgender boys to “experiment” with other boys. And it’s also common for adult “heterosexual” men to experience attraction toward drag queens.
In an article titled Straight Guys Love Drag Queens the author, Andy, experiments with this under the guise of “Natasha”. While he discovered that self-identified heterosexual men would open up about their attraction to drag queens in private, they wouldn’t express it in public:
“The same guys wouldn’t even look at us. I came to the conclusion that many straight men are highly fascinated and even sexually attracted to men who dress as women, abut that social situations cause this to remain hidden.”On a related note, it’s strange to me that plopping pretty paint on one’s face (make-up) or throwing on pieces of cloth (e.g. a skirt or pants) is socially interpreted as either “male” or “female” appropriate. Not too long ago, if a woman wore jeans or no make-up it was considered “drag” or “cross-dressing”. Nowadays, there are plenty of women who have short hair, wear no make-up, and aren’t hyper-feminine. These women can freely express gender on a continuum of masculinity/femininity on a daily basis.
On the same token, if society allowed it, I’m sure there would still be drag performers (just as there are drag kings); but there would also be a whole slew of men who would love to do their make-up every day or grow their hair out long and do fun, feminine things with it. Even heterosexual men. High-heels, blush, and elaborate wigs, after all, were first worn by upper-class men who considered these things to be symbols of masculinity and class status.
Anyway, rambling aside, I am entirely bewildered by the fact that, by introducing testosterone to my body, it has generated a sexual orientation variable that I’ve never experienced before. I wonder, if Indi (who is the drag alter-ego of my friend, Nic) wasn’t just a getup for performance and was how Nic expressed his gender on a daily basis, if I would swoon and ask him out. Possibly. It’s pretty interesting, for sure.
Also, with how common such sexual “consideration” seems to be for many men, it’s no surprise that some of the most homophobic dudes are sexually attracted to other men. This January 2009 Scientific American article explores the research regarding these two variables. Correlation!