AFAB & Fab AF!

The history of drag is fascinating, but this isn't a history lesson. This is about the future and how the art of drag needs to change, because everything needs to change as we become more enlightened and move into the future.

There is a big misnomer that the LGBTQA+ community is one happy family, but really there is a lot of in-fighting and non-acceptance.

If you are not familiar:

L - Lesbian

G - Gay

B - Bisexual

T - Transgender

Q - Queer/Questioning

A - Asexual

+ - Is everything else...

 

And there is a lot of everything else. For instance, I identify as Pansexual, Non-Binary—Pansexual, means I love all combinations of genders and genitals, and am more attracted to someone’s mind and personality then gender/genital combination. Non-Binary means that I don't conform or identify as one gender, even though I was assigned female at birth.

Within the community there is a lot of segregation. I'm going to use some us/them terminology for a bit to get a point across, I assure you I do not feel this way, but it illustrates the point the clearest. Straight society has a tendency to throw all the “others” together and is often clueless to the fact that the “others” do not always support each other; the larger the city the more in-fighting there seems to be. Gay men do not always stand up equally for lesbians, bisexual folks are often ridiculed for their perceived indecision, and transgender people often wonder where they fit in.  So, we find safe pockets. Grand Rapids is a wonderfully sized city—not so big that we are radically divided, not so small that we don't exist.

I grew up thinking I was bisexual because I was attracted to both genders, but I always felt there was more to my sexuality that than just that. Pansexuality, and the vastness of the gender spectrum, was not yet on my radar. As I have learned more about the trans community—concepts, terminologies, and identifying factors—I have been able to find a place and identity where I feel at home.

Part of that journey is the story of how I started performing in drag.

I have many traits that are traditionally considered male, often prefer to play a traditional male role in my sex life, and for most of my life have felt empathically connected to gay male culture. But, as an AFAB* individual, I also felt that the gay male community wasn't my community or place. I think in many cases when AFAB individuals feel this way, they end up transitioning to male. Although I have considered hormone therapy, the part of transitioning that interests me most is genital reassignment.  Currently, those surgeries are far from perfect and the risk and results are not worth the high costs: physical pain, recovery time, money, and mental anguish.

The first time I saw/heard about a BioQueen my mind was blown a little bit. The question of "Why not me?" was born. I think all people should ask that when they see something they want. Why not me? You may be the first one you know to do it, but if you feel that way, there are (or will be) others who also feel that tug. Be a trailblazer. Be the brave one to stand up first. As queerness becomes more and more visible, more people will come forward to be themselves.

 

There are plenty of people around the world that think that what I’m doing in drag is wrong, disrespectful, or offensive because I’m not ‘male.’ Persons of that opinion would tell you that drag is for gay men, and that they are creating a ‘female illusion.’ And I say to them… What female do you know looks like a drag queen? Drag is its own art form. I identified as female for 36 years, and I can count on one hand the amount of times I put as much effort into a look as I do as a drag queen, and somehow I don’t think that Halloween counts.

 

Next week, we’ll talk more about birth assigned genders, drag, and competing. Until then here’s some vocabulary to work on:


 

*AFAB:  Assigned female at birth. this is traditionally determined by genitals.

AMAB:  Assigned male at birth, determined by genitals.

Non-Binary:  Not identifying as one gender, gender fluidity.

Trans-female/transwoman/MTF:  AMAB, but has transitioned to Female (either with or without hormones).

Trans-male/transman/FTM:  AFAB, but has transitioned to Male (either with or without hormones).

Cisgendered: Identifying as the gender you were assigned at birth and conforming to societal standards of two genders male and female, determined by genitals.

Straight/Heterosexual: Attracted to the opposite gender in a binary gender society.

Traditional Drag Queen: AMAB, predominantly identifying as gay male,  who impersonates a female, or feminine traits to an exaggerated degree. Often trying to create the illusion of being female.

Diva/BioQueen/FauxQueen:  AFAB, identifying as female portraying a hyper feminine persona. Sexual identity non-important.

See the original post of AFAB & Fab AF! on Mod Beattie

Fruit Salad

This update is long over due, so much has happened in the last few weeks... is still happening. 

UICA/Cultivate - the Lettuce Dress

I was incredibly lucky to be able to attend the UICA's kick off for their ArtPrize exhibit, "Cultivate." The theme was "Flora and Farmer," and I decided to run with it and made a dress inspired by purple lettuce/kale. The dress is am empire style waist with layers of green ruffled lace and purple accents.

My makeup was also inspired by the colors, I use almost exclusively Hard Candy makeup. For my lips I used brown eyeliner and Hard Candy's "Sunshine," yellow lipstick. My eye makeup faded from purple to the bright green, my eyebrows were filled in with the dark purple eye shadow. 

 

 

ArtPrize

"Phallacy"

Yes, we all know ArtPrize has come and gone and I can give you a hundred angles and opinions about what happens during this yearly giant of an art competition. The reality of it is though, if you want to be a working artist, you play along, you enter ArtPrize. I try to make sure my entry every year is big and has a commentary. This years piece was meant to make people uncomfortable, to ask questions. The Apartment Lounge, the oldest gay bar in the city hosted the piece for me and it was a hit. The piece was mentioned in a national by article published by "The Daily Beast" that spoke to the LGBTQ+ artwork that was in ArtPrize, which is funded in part by the DeVos family. Along with the National mention, I was asked by a student at GVSU to do an interview regarding gender roles and my artwork. 

Colorful Black Lace Exhibition

Friday October 6, my first solo gallery show since college opened at Great Legs Winery in Holland. It was a modest reception, but the art was very well received. The show consists of the beginnings of the LGBTQ+ series "Fruit," my children's portrait series "Childhood," and a new group of art that is made of vintage collage pieces. The show runs until November first. 

When a bad-ass-bitch loses her swish.

I have 3 jobs, 2 kids and 1 awesome partner. I love adventure, I'm a fierce diva and I have crippling depression. 

I can have an amazing week full of adventure and laughs and rainbows and love and then look at the dishes in the sink and think "I'm a complete failure." I can get all the compliments, have people check me out all over town and know I'm hot shit, but at the end of the day see my arm skin sagging and feel worthless because "I've let myself go... again." 

I have aspirations. 

1) Be a Queen
This is not limited to being a Queen, this includes: dance lessons/practice, coaching new girls, making costumes, starting a costume and makeup resource group, being 100% in the culture. 

2) Lose 100 pounds
Eat healthier, feel better, get the rocking body this bitch deserves. 

3) Grad School & Painting
I want a MFA in Painting. I want it so bad I can smell the turpentine. Finding a good mix of good college, the program I want, not to far from home, and scholarship money is going to take some time and concentration. 

4) Get the damn kids under control
These little monsters think they run this house. 

How am I going to do it? By doing it. I start over all the time. Some times I start over after a few months, sometimes I start over after a few minutes, the goal is to never stop starting over. Don't give in, don't trust those voices, don't tell yourself things you wouldn't tell your best friend or your daughter. 

I need your love and support as much as you can use mine. I don't have my shit together and I don't always know where my priorities should be but I know in my heart I'm a bad-ass bitch and I can get that swish back if I want it. 
 

Black Lace Branding

"No, I don't make cupcakes. Black Lace and Cupcakes are my branding for my art site." 

I love this interaction, it opens the conversation for my to explain myself. Usually I'm approached with "I love your look/outfit," and I progress it to talking about being an artist and how I use my image as an extension of my brand. It's so east to meet people when you stick out in a crowd. 

I love circus, burlesque, theatrical ware; and just in the past couple of months have really been expanding on these aesthetics in my outward appearance. I don't wear it everyday, but if I'm at an event that I can pull it off at you better believe I will. 

It just so happens that I had three opportunities to strut my stuff this week:

UICA Gallery opening and reception for JUMP OFF


I have 2 pieces of art in this gallery show currently up at the UICA. It's the first time in 6 years that they held an open call. I am so proud to be featured. 
I wore my 10 yard skirt with my Hilary's Vanity black and white dress and my thigh-high fence nets. 

 

 

 

 

 

Rumors Night Club - Drag Night

I am an aspiring bioqueen, I love to go to shows at Rumors, and it's a great time for me to strut my stuff. I wore a black lace tank top with a black lace bra and my multi-tiered pearl necklace. People always comment on my jewelry ... my secret? Wal. Mart.  - No joke. 

 

 

 

Let Them Eat Cake - LaTesha Lipcomb and Mod Bettie Studio

This body positive event was bonkers. I can not wait for them to do more. I have already asked to be considered to sit in on the panel. This one took a lot of courage to get out of the car, but I did it and it was so worth it. I was stopped, I was photographed I felt incredible. The corset is from Lover's Lane, tulle bustle and fishnets. This outfit looked a little like I belonged with a magician on stage, but I loved it. 

 

Venus Rising Exhibition

Saturday was the 5th annual Venus Rising show held at the Tangent Gallery in Detroit. My ArtPrize piece "Struggle & Release" was featured in this unique and incredible art show. The show included art from the South East area of Michigan (and me), along with performance art, singing, and a fashion show. 

I was stopped a few times for my unique outfit for the night. I wore black leather heeled boots, patterned fishnets, black 10 yard skirt (hiked in front), neon green and black crinoline bustle, black lace high collar shirt, black and white stripe corset and black lace fingerless gloves. Topped off with a green streak in my hair, black lip stick and smokey eyes. 

I will post more about my makeup, what brand and colors in a general makeup post at some other time. 

This look was steam punk and goth inspired, created to be daring, attention attracting and mysterious. 

 Plus a bonus baby in the background! 

Plus a bonus baby in the background!