same old drag

By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 03, 2007

Santa Clara's university in the Jesuit tradition is seeking new ways to implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae and expand the horizons of its students.

May GASPED and GALA have your attention, ladies and gentlemen -- or ladies dressed as gentlemen -- or gentlemen dressed as ladies? The 6th annual Santa Clara Drag Show will be breaking down gender stereotypes left and right, say participants and organizers, tomorrow, May 4, at 8 p.m. in the California Mission Room. ...

You want to shatter Uncle Di's gender stereotypes of California students, boys and girls? Try this. Men: get up and go to 6:00 Mass. Women: make it to confession twice a week.

Representatives from Gay & Straight People for the Education of Diversity and Gay and Lesbian Alliance, as well as from Santa Clara Community Action Program, say they have worked hard to ensure that this year's show incorporates more elements of education about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual/two-spirited and queer/questioning communities. This year, skits and interviews about the history of transgender prejudice that will be incorporated into the show.

That's to say, heels and feather boas are giving way to feather boas and heels. Feel the creativity. We've grown.

Max Voltage, who is responsible for starting the Drag Show at Santa Clara, said to performers, "Take risks, push boundaries, challenge your audience. But also, find that line to walk, between risky art and oppressive crap," in an essay written for The Third National Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Ally Conference for Jesuit Colleges.

Lost me here, Max. In this context, what qualifies as "risky" art? What could a progressive student at a Jesuit college conceivably put at risk, however he spoke, whatever he did? Where in the soap bubble of undergraduate life would he encounter a person with the will, much less the authority, to deprive him of any liberty, or privilege, or satisfaction? To find an adult with a coherent view of human dignity that excluded the transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, and queer/questioning project, he'd have to make his way off-campus to a mosque or a pentecostal church. Not impossible, but hardly a live risk.

The conference, which was hosted at Santa Clara last summer, is held for Jesuit universities to facilitate discussion and action within the LGBTQ communities. According to Voltage, if performers, or "stars," as they are referred to in planning meetings, are successful, they will empower both men and women without demeaning either gender with sexist or oppressive stereotypes.

A dead limb doesn't twitch when the doctor pricks it, and some ideologues have a wooden humorlessness that no irony can goad back to life. The rebellion against sexist/oppressive stereotypes is itself so stereotyped as to collapse onto itself with a thud. That was your horizon that got expanded yesterday evening, wasn't it, Mister Voltage?

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