10/25/2013 02:57 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

The Von Broken-way

Tom Bartolomei

A little over three years ago, when I came up with the idea to start my blog, Diary of a Drag Queen's Husband, Vivian thought it was a great idea, but she made one simple request of me: that I only use the blog for good. I could write about anything I wanted to write about as long as I wasn't bashing anyone in the drag community. The topic of bashing her never came up. At the time, I felt that it was simple and fair request, so I agreed to it.

I will admit that there are times that I really wish that I never agreed to that request. Would I actually bash people on the blog? No, that's not my style. If I have a problem with you, I will deal with you either directly or not at all. However, I will say that only using the blog for good does limit me from sharing certain stories. (And before anyone emails me asking me to share those stories, let me tell you that the answer will be "no.") I made a promise to Vivian, and it's one that I plan to keep, but I will admit that things that I have seen over the four years that Vivian has been performing have, on several occasions, shocked me.

I never knew that drag was so political and, in some cases, so cutthroat. Who would have thought that friendships could be destroyed because of men wearing dresses, or that so many people aren't really who they present to the general public? I will honestly say that I didn't.

I also learned that Vivian and I really don't fit into the drag community. Yes, we support as many people as we can, and we avoid drama like the plague, but those traits are not the norm, in my humble opinion. The backstabbing and scheming are things that I really don't have a taste for, nor do I have the ability to deal with it on any level. So many people in the drag community have opinions about every queen, down to their hair, their costumes, their shoes, their music. You name it, and they have an opinion about it and feel that they have the right to voice that opinion, solicited or not. It can be quite hurtful if you let it get to you. I have too much going on in my life to be worried about what your opinion about the Von Bs may or may not be. There is a place for every type of drag in this world. While a particular type may or may not be your personal cup of tea, that doesn't mean it's bad or wrong, or that the entertainer sucks. Other people may like that style. That doesn't give anyone the right or the option to be disrespectful or derogatory about a performer.

We do things our way and always will. Sometimes doing things our way has cost us friends and relationships, but when it comes right down to it, that is their problem, not ours. We treat everyone we come in contact with the same way that we want to be treated: with respect. Do some people prove that they don't deserve to be treated that way? Yes, but once again, that is not our problem. We will simply not be part of the negativity.

Vivian doesn't do drag to make money. She doesn't do it be famous, or to be crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar" on RuPaul's Drag Race. She does it because it brings her joy and makes her happy. Yes, I complain, and I bitch, but when I see her on stage, and I see that smile on her face and that sparkle in her eyes, that is reason enough for me.

So, yes, we may not do things in the perceived "right way" or the "drag way" or even follow the unwritten rules. Honestly, we don't even know what the unwritten rules are. It's all good, though, because we can hold our heads up high, look in the mirror and be proud that we acted without malice or ill intent. We say we did it our way, and as a Jersey boy, I'm fine with that.

To learn more about the Von Broken-way, be sure to read the Diary of a Drag Queen's Husband.


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