Pride Baby

I had every intention throughout my pregnancy to blog away about all things school, gay and baby. Obviously that did not exactly happen, considering I am just days from my due date and writing for the first time since my post from insemination day! I’m convinced that my amazing cousin, over at The Merfett, is part Christmas Elf the way she’s been able to post consistent updates throughout her pregnancy, all while raising a toddler! To quote Rebel Wilson in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, “She’s like a magical pregnancy unicorn.”

Anyway, I did want to at least share a few milestones from the last few months. I’m just sitting around waiting for this baby to show up…so I got time!

1. The Announcement

We were right around 13 weeks along for Christmas so it was perfect timing to announce to our families. Our parents and sisters knew ahead of time, but all of our extended family got the good news around the Christmas dinner table (which means a Mexican feast in my family and Irish coffees in Jamie’s family).

Of course in this day and age, nothing is official until it hits social media, so we had been preparing an extra special video announcement to share with our hive mind. Now, if you’ve seen posts about our wedding like this one or this one, you know that we aren’t really into following tradition. Many of the baby announcements we’ve seen are totally adorable – but they just aren’t “us”. So, we decided to combine our thirst for originality with our obsession with Drag culture (as evident in this previous post) to create the most unique baby announcement we’ve ever seen! Over the course of several weeks, we had some of our favorite Drag Queens help us spill the beans. I put together a little montage and we posted it on New Year’s Day!

2. The Reveal

We went in for our “anatomy scan” on February 6th. This was the scan that would tell us the sex of the baby.

Lou Henry Hoover (Drag Boylesque Performer) & Jinkx Monsoon (Super Star Drag Queen and Fairy God-Mother)

Lou Henry Hoover (Drag Boylesque Performer) & Jinkx Monsoon (Super Star Drag Queen and Fairy God-Mother)

Weeks before, we were visiting with one of Jamie’s aunts and she asked if we were planning on doing a “reveal party with little cupcakes”. I responded with an eye roll and said, “Ugh, that does’t sound like us at all. If we do anything, it’ll be something we get to smash open with a bat.” Jamie overheard and that was it – she had a plan. “A piñata!!” she had screamed. “We can fill it with colored liquor bottles and smash it open!” And I kid you not, that’s what we did.

Jamie’s parents were out of town that weekend so we scheduled the party (just close family and friends) for Saturday February 14th. At the anatomy scan the week before, I had had the technician write the sex on a piece of paper and I took it with me in an envelope. I ordered a piñata online (a rainbow one, of course) and we tasked our close friend, Kim, with going to the liquor store to buy the correct colored bottles. Even though we consider ourselves to be quite “gender progressive” and don’t agree with the automatic assignment of certain colors with specific sexes and/or genders, we decided to go with the classic pink and blue just to make it visibly obvious for the smashing of the piñata. Kim was the only person (other than the ultra sound tech) that knew the sex of our baby before the party and she held fast like a champ!

Wearing her Vaudevillains shirt (the same one we wore for the “Swim Meet“), Jamie smashed open that piñata and little blue bottles of alcohol came raining down. Like, literally raining – she broke several all over the place!

It's a BOY!

It’s a BOY!

3. The Baby Shower

One Friday night in August, Jamie and I were at our favorite Drag Show in New York City. The show is called “Distorted Diznee” and features four Queens that take all of the classic Disney characters and songs – and just f*@# ’em up! It is hilarity unmatched in any other show (click here for tickets if you’re anywhere close to NYC)!

Anyway, Jamie and I had an epiphany – we weren’t even pregnant yet, but we decided that if we did a baby shower, it had to be hosted by those four Queens. We spoke with them that night about the idea and started the planning for our “Distorted Baby Shower”. Our invites warned that it was going to be very different from any other shower – and it sure was!! The girls put on an unforgettable show for us and we were so unbelievably grateful.

Bootsie Lefaris

Bootsie Lefaris


Pixie Aventura

Pixie Aventura


Brenda Dharling

Brenda Dharling


Holly Dae

Holly Dae


Us with Baby Rio's "Distorted Aunts"

Us with Baby Rio’s “Distorted Aunts”

4. The Nursery:

When coming up with how we wanted to design the nursery, we decided to go with inspiration from an unexpected source – a musical about a transgendered rockstar from East Berlin. As I mentioned in this post from last year, we are huge fans of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and especially of the song “Origin of Love” written for the musical by Stephen Trask. I have always been into art and painting and took on the monumental task of designing a floor to ceiling, wall to wall mural for the baby’s room. I started with little images I conjured from “Origin of Love”, but then began adding references to works of literature like “The Giving Tree”, “Le Petit Prince”, and “The Alchemist”, as well as the nursery rhyme “Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod”.  I got my ideas onto paper first, then began to pencil it onto the walls. Jamie and I started in March and worked little by little for the last few months. I finally put the finishing touches on the room just last week and I am so proud of the whole thing.

"Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe…"

“Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe…”


"The Giving Tree"

“The Giving Tree”


IMG_5792

Sun, Moon, Earth and Asteroid B-612

IMG_5636 IMG_5635

5. Pride Baby

So here I wait, 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant, with Pride celebrations happening all around. It totally fits that he’s due for Pride. He’ll be raised by two loving mothers, with a respect for the world around him. He’ll be taught to be accepting and open-minded. He’ll see the love that was poured over him before he was even born and know that just because one chooses to walk a different path than the rest, doesn’t mean that person is any less. And that’s truly what Pride is all about.

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The Secret Life of Bianca Del Rio

First of all, if you haven’t heard of Bianca Del Rio, Google her – immediately. And it’s completely okay if you find yourself sucked into the YouTube vortex for hours because you can’t get enough. Guilty.

Bianca Del Rio, born Roy Haylock, was raised in New Orleans but is now a staple in the New York City drag scene, quickly gaining fans and followers around the world. She has referred to herself as an “Insult Queen – like Don Rickles. Only in a dress. And prettier and not as old.” Bianca is currently a contestant on the Sixth Season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race on LogoTV. Fans of the show have been getting small glimpses of Bianca’s “Rolodex of Hate” as she fires line after line at her fellow contestants, former competitors, Drag Race judges and even Ru herself. If you have ever seen her live onstage, you know that nobody in that audience is safe, and any cowardly soul that dares call out from their “safe place” behind the lights will be quickly read for filth right then and there. She is loud and brash and  doesn’t apologize one bit for it.

“If you don’t wear a wig, they call you a nasty, hateful Queen. But if you wear a wig, they call it hysterical. So it’s kind of like the packaging to get away with murder.” *

reganwrite.wordpress.com

reganwrite.wordpress.com

However, what many might not realize (even though it is absolutely evident on the show) is that Bianca Del Rio isn’t always the Brazen Bitch she plays on stage.  As the episodes of Drag Race peel back the layers of Bianca, we see more and more of her soft side. As much as she may deny it, Bianca is clearly full of heart. I have seen Bianca live a few times since I am right outside New York City, but last night I was fortunate enough to see an even more intimate side of the “Queen of Mean”.

Huffingtonpost.com

Huffingtonpost.com

Feathers, a gay club  in River Edge, New Jersey, held a “White Party” last night hosted by Bianca. We live just down the street from the club and Jamie and I spent many nights in our late early twenties [Hedwig reference 😉] boozing and dancing on the 2nd Floor stage like we didn’t have a future. When we saw that Bianca would be hosting there, we couldn’t pass it up – but when we purchased the VIP ticket that included a photo op Meet and Greet, we didn’t really know what to expect. Let me tell you, she worked her little padded ass off all night, ensuring that she spent real time with the fans that came out to see her. She went from photos, to meet and greet, to performance, to more meet and greet. She even took the time outside the club to sign more autographs and chat with fans. She took shots with us at the bar and listened to peoples’ personal stories. Throughout the night I heard her voice several times how grateful she was to have such opportunities.

It was most incredible to hear about the way she perceives her explosion of fame. Outside after the show, she was talking about what she does and the feedback she’s gotten in cities across the country. She had said, “People scream, ‘I LOVE YOU BIANCA!’ and I’m thinking, ‘A few months ago, you didn’t even know who I was.’ It’s not like I’m curing Cancer. I’m a man in a wig. But if it helps people I’m all for it!” It got me thinking about how she is indeed helping. She is a strong, confident gay man, comfortable in what she does, qualities that I’m certain were not gained overnight. Thousands of teens across the nation, and even across the world, can see her and draw inspiration from her.

When I started the Unity Link club at my school that creates a safe place for my students to gain support and talk, I never guessed that it would develop into a secondary club for teens “struggling” with sexual orientation and gender identity. Now, we have a club that meets every Monday for teens from around the district to gather and talk LGBTQ-related issues – we call it “Oz”. Until a few weeks ago, many of my students had never heard of Ru Paul’s Drag Race nor of Bianca Del Rio. But in one meeting I quoted the famous Jackie Curtis when she had said, “I am not a boy. I am not a girl. I am not gay. I am not straight. I am not a drag queen, not a transexual. I am me, Jackie.” The discussion led to drag queens and eventually I started talking about Drag Race. Well, the next week there was an explosion of energy over the show. Many of the kids had gone home and binge-watched the series, becoming fully educated on their favorites. I found it not at all shocking when a handful of the boys in the group gravitated toward Bianca. She is exactly the kind of example of success they need in a world that is still telling them “no”.

“Everybody is an original. It takes a minute to find ‘your thing’. It’s just finding what your passion is. And not thinking, ‘I need to do that because someone else is doing it.’ But also realize that people are going to compare, people are going to have an opinion. Everybody thinks that they know more than you. But it really is a little journey for yourself.”*

Thank you, Bianca, for being all we need – Bitch, Comedian, Friend, Inspiration, and Role Model. You may not be curing Cancer, but the world could certainly use the dose of laughter and originality you insist on administering, so keep bringing it relentlessly!

dragofficial.com

dragofficial.com

*From an interview with fellow performer Marti Gould Cummings posted on April 23, 2014.

10 Reasons Why Drag Queens Make the World a Better Place

The Incomparable Jinkx Monsoon*

The Incomparable Jinkx Monsoon*

10. Entertainment – The job of a Drag Queen is first and foremost to entertain. If you were to speak to any Drag Queen about why they do what they do, I’m certain they’d all have their own reasons. Each Queen has a story that made them who they are today, both in and out of drag. But at the heart of each is an entertainer. That pure joy you see as you watch a Queen on stage, putting her heart into whatever her craft has led her to do, is something that can put a smile on any face. That is life-saving “entertaintment”.

Brittany Lynn phillymag.com

Brittany Lynn
phillymag.com

9. Commitment – A Queen’s closet is no joke. She has wigs and shoes and lashes for days – or years rather. And clothing isn’t all she has in her repertoire. So many Drag Queens can do multiple impersonations. Some can sing. Many do comedy. That kind of commitment seems like it’s fewer and farther between these days.

8. Fashion – Queens have style! And I don’t necessarily mean the what’s-hot-and-what’s-not kind of style. Fashion doesn’t always have to be dictated by magazines. I just mean polished and proud of how they look. It’s an impressive feat to look so on-point as a boy and smokin’ hot a girl.

Jessica Wild as both Bride and Groom in the wedding challenge on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 2.

Jessica Wild as both Bride and Groom in the wedding challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2.

7. Creativity – The Drag World is a culture rich in unique creativity. Not only do Drag Queens have their own lingo (one that makes little sense to the uninitiated), but they are even bringing their artistic influences to the music world these days. There’s songs like RuPaul’s “Tranny Chaser” and Sharon Needles’ “Kai Kai” that even poke fun at their own culture. You can find campy craziness in Alaska’s “Nails“, with the chanted lyric, “If you’re not wearing nails, then you’re not doing drag!” My favorites are the parodies of popular songs. Willam Belli’s “Chow Down (at Chick Fil-A)” featuring Detox and Vicky Vox remakes Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On (For One More Day)”. The trio recently collaborated on another creation in “Blurred Bynes“, a hilarious montage throwing shade at Amanda Bynes and her not-so-mature antics. And a must-hear is Mimi Imfurst as she sings her parody of “I Will Survive” entitled “Another Lie“, referring to the “tiny” fib told by a male about the [desired] size of his nether regions. 😉

Alaska Thunderf#%$ 5000, Star and runner-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5

6. Cajones – And I don’t mean actual testicles (although they have those, too). I mean courage. It takes more courage than many could fathom for a man to dress in women’s clothing and parade around in public. Many Queens share stories about the first time they dressed in drag and how liberating it felt. But the world, as accepting as it’s becoming, is still a scary place. Bigotry and hate threaten that liberation each time a Queen steps out her door. Seeing their courage can give us all hope.

5. Beauty – What fascinates me most about Drag Queens is the illusion. I can’t get enough of watching the Boy turn into the Queen. To me, it’s Beauty in such a true form. When I put on make-up and do my hair, I may spend about 20 minutes on the whole project. To watch what a Drag Queen must do to become the women within is breathtaking. It’s not an easy Beauty. It isn’t effortless. It’s laborious. It takes time. It takes energy. And at the end of it all, each Queen is on display for critique and judgement. And yet it’s the Beauty and the Labor that keeps her coming back to the high of being in Drag. It is, without a doubt, truly beautiful.

Maddelynne Hatter in Leland Bobbe's Half-Drag portraits project.

Maddelynne Hatter in Leland Bobbe’s Half-Drag portraits project.

4. Fear – With every act of bravery comes a little bit of fear. Sometimes when we recognize a fear within ourselves, we are embarrassed by it. We try and bury the fear, cover it up, ignore it. But when we see acts of bravery overcome fear, it gives us a glimmer of reality. We begin to recognize that everyone has fear – even the coolest, calmest, bravest of heroes. Fear is real. A Drag Queen may put on wigs and layers of makeup and 6-inch heels, but underneath it all there is a little bit of fear that reminds us that they are real.

3. Defiance – What’s a Drag Queen without a healthy dose of Bad Kid? Just the definition of Drag Queen proves that they don’t follow the straight path dictated by the squares of society. That alone makes me green with envy – throw a lace front wig and couture dress on top of that and I can say that I am officially jealous of Drag Queens.

2. Patience – The art of drag definitely doesn’t come easily. To give you an idea of what a Drag Queen does to get ready I included a video below titled “Drag Becomes Him”. The video is of my all-time favorite Queen, Jinkx Monsoon. She is querky and bizarre and silly. As a boy, she has wild red hair and a goofy laugh. As she transforms herself into Jinkx she becomes her and the boy just melts away. It takes a special kind of patience – but what an amazing reward.

1. Inspiration – And finally, the number one reason why Drag Queens make this world a better place – INSPIRATION. Even if a large part of the world doesn’t want to accept Gays and Gay Culture, we’re here. There are countless adolescents out there struggling with their sexuality and where they fit in. Somewhere, there’s an awkward gay boy that has a picture of Jinkx Monsoon in his school notebook and uses it each day as a promise of a better future. Maybe he’s from a small town, maybe from a big city. Either way, he needs someone to show him that being different and being gay and being fabulous are not things to be ashamed of. And maybe someday he’ll be able to express his own creativity in an equally fabulous way – because Drag. Queens. Rule.

*The Featured image for this post is of Jinkx Monsoon starring with Major Scales in “The Vaudevillians” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City. It is an incredible show and a must-see! Get tickets here! But do it soon – after November 19 she takes the show on an international tour!