Cynical And Southern: I Was Bullied By A Drag Queen At St. Pete Pride
Livid. I still get livid when I think about it four years later.
I’ve forgiven my father, my ex-boyfriends, my evil classmates, and shady former friends. I’ve forgiven my cousin that sat behind me in college and called me a fag. Only one memory races my adrenaline and it’s that of Coco the drag queen.
Coco was very pretty when I approached her. I was one of the performers on St. Pete Pride’s music stage and Coco was hosting the show. I had performed at Mondohomo in Atlanta the night before. I got off stage in Atlanta at midnight, drove eight hours, and then slept for three. When I arrived in St. Pete at noon I was haggard but ready to rock.
Upon arriving the St. Pete Pride organizers were severely stressed. Like many shows, this one was running behind schedule. I empathized with them. I’ve organized many shows and I know the torture of wrestling with time.
I took one for the team. I was scheduled to play a half hour set. I offered to cut my set down to four songs. The event organizers were grateful.
The performer directly before me was Generic Lesbian Folk Singer #956. After her tenth song her ten loud lesbian fans heartily cheered for yet another Melissa Etheridge cover. Naturally Generic Lesbian Folk Singer #956 requested to play two more songs. Sometimes musicians can be real assholes.
Finally it was my turn to play. Song #1 got the crowd dancing. By song #2 people were getting sweaty. It was during song #3 that the “incident” happened.
It wasn’t at the beginning of song #3. Nor was it after song #3. It was during. Right smack in the middle of song #3 the drag queen host, Coco, got on the microphone and began talking over me.
“Jeremy Gloff is your song almost done yet…”
“Ok, how much longer…”
“Ok let’s wrap it up…”
I stopped mid-song. I said on the microphone “apparently I just drove from Atlanta to perform two and a half songs for you. Next year I am going to do come as a lesbian folk singer and do covers.” Yes, I can be an asshole too.
In the twenty years I’ve been doing music I’ve never had someone talk over me. It’s a disrespect I find unfathomable. Especially from another gay performer. I wish to this day I had been quick enough to look at Coco and say “will somebody please get this man off the stage, I’m trying to perform”.
The fact that my performance in Atlanta the night before was a life-changing experience made it no easier. It was that night I met Team Gina, Nicky Click, and the whole Atlanta Mondohomo family. These people have become constants in my life. It ripped my heart to know I’d left a historical queer music fest as a revered performer only to be treated like garbage a few hours later.
Coco made me hate drag queens for a long time. I felt seething envy that in gay culture rude bitchy men dressed as woman were given dollar after dollar for lipsyncing Whitney Houston, while original performers like myself were talked over mid-song. It took me a few years to realize I was generalizing and some of the wonderful queens in Tampa and Orlando have brought me back around to enjoying the art of drag.
But Coco? You are a real cunt. Some nights in bed I plot my revenge. In these reveries I go to watch you perform and I throw a shit pie at your face mid-song. Or I fill a squirt gun full of piss and shoot it right in your mouth when you least expect it. I’d feel no remorse.
I know a lot of drag queens have fought for years to get from respect for the world. I hope that someday Coco will learn, even when she’s in her wig and makeup, she has to give that respect back too.
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