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Jeffrey Feldman Headshot

Giuliani the Transvestite

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Of all the words used to describe the campaign of Rudy Giuliani, transvestite may be the most accurate. The video from 2000--which shows Donald Trump thrusting his face into Rudy's deftly sported novelty breasts--may be the first thing that comes to mind. But Giuliani's fetish for frocks is more of a one-liner than what really makes him a cross-dresser.

The issue in the video is not the morality of dressing as the opposite sex, but the authenticity of Giuliani's rebirth as a socially conservative, authoritarian Republican. If a Republican candidate for president dresses up as Dame Edna--either for entertainment or just for relaxation--nobody should judge him for it. But if that same candidate "dresses up" as a spokesman for those whose politics support a culture of violence against homosexuals--that is cause enough for judgment and alarm.

Comfortable in a Dress
What we see in the video of Rudy and Donald is more than a mayor who lives the spotlight. Rudy's performance bears all the marks of a man who feels liberated by the radical act of public gender transgression.

The video shows Giuliani not only comfortable with the theatrics of a man wearing women's clothes, but also skilled at generating a comic scene via the manipulation of female prosthetics. In other words: Rudy is good at wearing fake boobs.

But playing the exact role that enrages the authoritarian right to campaigns of violence is not the only liberating act done well by Rudy. As the potential standard bearer of the "family values" party, Giuliani has mucked up his own marriages enough times to warrant a cameo in the next Britney Spears video.

Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck put it best in a recent commentary on Giuliani's candidacy:

He`s been married three times. OK, not great, but, whatever. Then you find out his first wife turned out to be his second cousin. Uh-oh. Now we`re starting to get into a little Jerry Lee Lewis territory. His second wife claims that she found out they were getting divorced via press conference. That`s not too good.

His third wife, current wife, Judi Nathan Giuliani, which I wonder if he ever becomes president and then leaves office, she just become Judi Nathan again, said in a recent interview with "Harper`s Bazaar" that -- well, this was an interview that made me almost cry. It was very, very tender.

She said of Rudy, "He`s a very, very Romantic guy. We love watching Sleepless in Seattle."

She then went on to describe him as the Energizer bunny with no rechargeable batteries. Eww. Kind of -- when I read that, it was like -- it`s like my soul threw up in its little soul mouth just a little bit, you know? It`s like "Penthouse" forum meeting "Highlights for Children", assuming that she was referring to his libido which, I don`t know, maybe he says he only sleeps for three hours a night. I`m not sure. I`m not asking any questions. Well, I`m asking questions, but I don`t really want the answers on that one.

(full transcript here)

One has to wonder what it will be like when, on the thought of Giuliani as their President, the souls of tens of millions of right-wing conservatives simultaneously throw up their little soul mouths. "Eww," indeed.

Souls Throwing Up
Somehow, Giuliani thinks he can soothe all this right-wing digestive discharge by using clever framing as political Gaviscon. Rudy believes that his he can dress up as an authoritarian right-wing candidate by repeating vetted lines about judicial nominees, all the while drawing attention away from the well-publicized evidence of his gleeful transvestism, his failed cross cousin marriage, and his middle-aged sexual endurance.

Given all this, it seems fair to wonder which of these two choices will be more likely to stay down after his right-wing base eats it: Giuliani's warm fuzzies for Justices Scalia and Alito or the Donald's warm fuzzy head in the ex-mayor's falsies?

My money is with the Donald.

But whether he is wearing a dress or wearing pants, Giuliani continues to be America's premier political transvestite. And the thought of him as the next President--I think I just felt something in the back of my throat.


(cross posted from Frameshop)