Livingston looked forward to the yearly rugby drag ball when all the butch, bearded, tatted players donned too-tight skirts and cheap wigs for charity. Although he never won Miss Ruck (he got first runner-up twice though), rugby drag was essential to his spurring his drag career and finding lasting love.
I must also confess that my adoration of a figure like Mayes partly stems from my distaste for the trends and sensibilities unfolding in American Literature where minimalism, cynicism and realism reign supreme.
Doing the work to register voters in the South will take our collective time, treasure and dedication. But it is crucial, and it can make the future come faster than many people think.
Just because the South lays claim to fried chicken, BBQ, and mac & cheese, doesn't mean the rest of the U.S. isn't doing it right, too.
At the time of the Civil War, almost half the population of Alabama was Black. In 1963, a full 30 percent of the state's population was the same color. Keep Alabama White. Really?
The culture war skirmishes at the College of Charleston represent something more than Dixie-fried corruption and anti-intellectualism. They reflect the misuses of history that have long been a powerful political tool in the hands of white, conservative elites.
As LGBTQ people, improving our quality of life is our central social change concern but only when our life is not in daily risk. When we are not sure we will have a life tomorrow to defend the quality of, we focus on what is hurting us most deeply every day.
Since I'm not a native of the South, I love any excuse to direct my healthifying powers below the Mason Dixon line.
In our New Jersey attic, there is precisely one hat, standing in immense and ghostly isolation beneath a tent of blue Indian gauze, its custom-made hat-stand crafted by a friend in Up-country South Carolina about 20 years ago.
"My parents are really supportive of my drag. They're old and they don't get it, but they love me," says Violet Chachki. "They don't come to my shows, but they see I'm able to pay off a mortgage with my drag."
Her voice carried the panic of a swimmer recognizing the undertow too late. She thrashed against the words, terrified of drowning in them.
I was born down South, and had heard the word "gentleman" a thousand times, but never as a descriptor for a rapist. I marveled as she spoke. It was her composure and perfect makeup that wowed me.
The beach bum, the adventurer, and every traveler in between will feel at home in Charleston.
Call it a myth, a stereotype, call it an archetype, but despite the fact that southern women are as diverse as the population of the United States, the image of a Southern Woman persists in the popular imagination.
Although Kryean knows drag is an artistic money pit, it allows her to fulfill many childhood dreams. As a cloested gay kid in Calhoun, Georgia, Matthew wanted to design clothes, act, sing, dance, perform, etc. These fabulous dreams were too big for the Georgia sticks...
Is their a southern narrative other than one which lays proud claim to the Civil War? I think the answer here lies in a nostalgia for a simpler life, a life less corrupted by the influences of modernity.