Written By: Ryan Komoromi
Edited By: E.B. Johnson
On August 29, Impulse Group Los Angeles released the final episode of their three part online series GAY-ish!
I have to admit that I had previously been completely unaware of this web series, but hearing that it would guest star Alaska Thunderfuck, among a cast of other incredible drag artists, put it on my radar immediately. I am one of those gays – the ones who browse the fan pages for our fabulous entertainers looking for anything new. So, when a link to this new video featuring Alaska popped up in my newsfeed, with my queen looking especially STUN, I just knew I had to see it. The feeling of the still is quite serious (in contrast to her normally campy vibes), which leaves me intrigued. So, I follow the link….
Once I click play, the title of the third episode, comes across the screen “The Red Dress.” It is followed shortly after by an Audrey Hepburn quote in front of a church, “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”
From the online stills, I knew this was going to be quite serious, and a departure from Alaska’s traditionally campy vibes, but I’m still not really sure what to expect. Perhaps a Day of the Dead siesta, maybe a throw back gothic bridal party? The background music soon reveals that this is actually a funeral, though, and nothing like gothic wedding I was anticipating.
Alaska makes her entrance, and Manila Luzon, Abhora, and other LGBTQIA royalty make cameos while a priest give an opening speech in the honor of “Bryan”. When the priest is finished, he invites Bryan’s best friend Pablo to the podium to make a speech. Amidst his sniffles and kind words, Pablo comes to a statement, “I am so sick of everyone blaming everything on drugs! Yeah, some of us like to party, but let’s just get one thing clear: Bryan died because he choked on his own vomit, not from GHB.”
For me personally, this moment was quite puzzling. No tea. No shade. I was caught off-guard by the statement. Was this meant to be a poignant moment? A shot at the behaviors so many of us find to be normal these days? Pablo breaks own once more, and Alaska walks up to the podium without an invitation. She touches Pablo’s shoulder to make it clear – she can take it from here.
Alaska immediately addresses her deceased friend with an apology — for not wearing a red dress to his funeral. After another quick apology for interrupting, the Queen of Queens lays it all on the line, providing statistics about many of the issues facing our community today.
No one is safe as Alaska addresses drug use, steroid use, depression, and suicide; all of which are provided broken heartedly and judgement-free. She then goes on to question the reasons for these heightened stats within our community.
“Where is the compassion?”
Alaska makes it clear very quickly that the members of our community may not be the root of our problems, but a lot of us aren’t doing much to counteract the issues. Rather than supporting one another to create a strong community, a lot of us are (even unintentionally) tearing it, and one another, apart.
This is an issue that has become so widespread that it’s daunting.
It’s something we’re all guilty of. It’s something we’ve all seen. “No fats.” “No fems.” “No blacks.” I am not saying that you have to befriend every person you meet or that you should be attracted to everyone, but putting statements on the internet that you’re ultimately left unaccountable for is a large part of the problem. I mean, who would walk around saying some of the things that we read online? If you don’t think these statements are problematic, you’re mistaken.
Imagine it: Someone happens to either find you attractive or take interest in some clever tagline you’ve created. He or she takes the bait, and decides to check you out, only to find that you would prefer he or she not exist at all. Sounds like a pleasant feeling, right?
Some people are bound to take this out of context and think that I am implying that you have to be physically attracted to every single person out there. No! But perhaps it is time for us, as a community, to check our most callous and inconsiderate behaviors.
“No blacks.” Yes. These are words that exist in our community — it is still an issue. It’s 2018! You’re still interested in invalidating someone’s existence because of the color of his or her skin? That’s going to be a hard no from me.
“No fems.” Only in this community where we have tons of obviously internalized issues do we see a community that can place femininity on a pedestal (drag queens) while still finding it appropriate to demean that characteristic on other platforms. There are so many other biases that exist in our community that it has become unreal. Having a certain taste in partners isn’t destroying our community, being callous enough to think that everyone who doesn’t fit your ideals deserves to be told exactly why (what’s “wrong” with them) is.
I’m not even sure how to approach the drug use in our community.
I myself am not interested in illegal substances, but what each person chooses to do is of his or her choice. We do, however, as human beings have a responsibility to reach out if we notice that someone is struggling with addiction. Compassion should inspire kindness. Look into resources that can help those who you notice struggling. Talk to them, and listen! The issue is so interwoven in our community. For many, it is inconceivable that they would experience anything in their natural existence that can compete with what a substance might provide. You’d be surprised how good it can feel when someone actually listens to you though – when someone actually CARES! I get it; time is a valuable resource, and you can’t help everyone. However, if everyone attempted to talk to (or help) someone who was down, it would create a remarkable change.
Anyone who read my review of Alaska & Jeremy’s Amethyst Journey, knows that I have been a long-time fan. I have always appreciated her camp and her humor, but Alaska’s most recent appearance also shows her to be the brilliant social-justice warrior that many be surprised to see.
“The Red Dress” is a really important video that encourages each of us to look at how we treat others within our own community. Remember that most of us within the LGBTQIA community have already dealt with enough discrimination to last a lifetime; we shouldn’t have to face it within our own community.
So remember to ask yourself: “Where is the compassion?”