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Is gap to a diverse world narrowing?

Posted: October 1, 2010 9:21 a.m.
Updated: September 29, 2010 9:12 a.m.

It dawned on me Sunday morning that, in the last six days, I’d attended a Lady Gaga concert in Raleigh and dressed in drag to sing a seductive rendition of “Makin’ Whoopee” alongside Camden native Megan Davis Campbell -- twice.

“Trevor, perhaps it’s time to evaluate some things in your life,” you may advise. “Unnecessary,” I say. “Just searching for inspiration.”

First, on Gaga --

I consider myself fortunate in that I’ve seen a decent share of diversity in my life. I’ve been placed, sometimes against my preference, in situations where I get to interact with people of varying views, backgrounds and social status. This is just one of the few perks of my career choice.

Still, none of that prepared me for a Lady Gaga concert. Because the crowd you encounter at a Lady Gaga concert is more bizarre and diverse than a Sunday night drag show at Pantheon in Charleston, where I was assigned to go for two weeks for a sociology class during college.

Directly in front of me from my seat was an entire group of men who preferred the company of their same sex, some of whom appeared to be an item, as their arms were locked around one another. To my left, a group of what appeared to be young high-schoolers, dancing away, “putting their paws up.” Gaga loyalists understand this phrase.

Also included in the crowd of 20,000 or so were girls dressed as Gaga, guys dressed as Gaga, gays, straights, whites and blacks.

If you recall from my column a couple weeks back, my love for the Lady herself runs past her music to her message for her fans -- that it’s fine to be “freaks.”

Freaks. This, of course, leads me to the Fine Arts Center Follies in Camden.

As a number of people have noted through Facebook and other mediums, it appears that several of the Kershaw County gentleman who partake in the Follies enjoy dressing up as a woman a touch too much. I’d agree with that statement, but I’m not sure I’m excluded from this company.

The bottom line about the Follies is that it benefits a great organization, the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, which provides the community a handful of entertainment options throughout the year.

As for the show itself, those who attended appeared to deem it a success.

A theme that can be extracted from both these events is tolerance, a prevalent topic in today’s world -- between the blocks-from-ground-zero Islamic cultural center and the bill that would’ve repealed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays serving in the United States military.

There are millions of people across the world who do indeed dress in drag on a weekly basis, because it gives them a thrill. And there are soldiers fighting battles to protect this country, and with whom they sleep has no bearing on their ability.

Whether a drag queen or a gay soldier, it’s shameful that either of these people could feel unwelcome in America.


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