There are few days in your lifetime when you can get away with pretty much anything. Days without resolve, remorse or regret. Days to experiment. Days to be provocative. Days where you don’t need to follow up the next day with a bunch of “my bad” phones calls and texts. Days, to remember. For me, it’s my birthday. Not sure how or why it started, but each year I live vicariously through a historical figure. Living their final year as though it should have been lived had they known what was coming. It’s a dedication to them as much as a celebration of life for me. This year, I landed on Marie Antoinette. For no reason in particular. It had just occurred to me that I never thought of living vicariously through a woman before, and having played a mini stand in for mom recently, why not.
Those that know me are very familiar with my go-big-or-go-home mentality. It’s in my work ethic. My Superbowl parties. Hell, my thesis was literally making 6-foot crayons. So I was not going to settle for some meager pass off of Marie. No. She put herself out there. Was boisterous. Fashionable. Both revered and loathed. Basically a bunch of things I am not. Well, there may be some loathing. I spent so much time thinking and researching her as the woman personality, I never actually put much though into what the consequences of putting on a dress and walking around as A woman, even if for a few hours would feel..in Ohio of all places.
Now, onto the polarizing part of the evening. See this party was destined to leave Neon’s and travel about the streets. Streets that are not Philly or NY where the weird is the norm and actually, kinda hard to spot sometimes. These streets are in Ohio. Let the stereotypes fall where they may in that statement. With me I have a vast support system of friends and revelers, who were into this story. They were part of The Queen’s entourage and I have no doubt as times wears on that this is infact a story they will retell with such colorful detail, and pass on like a beautiful virus, inspiring others. A little well-wishing I know, after all I am just a dude in a dress, but that’s not the point of it all. The point is to implant notions and ideas of destroying expectations and letting (insert anything here) flourish. It’s a butterfly flapping it’s wings.
Hopefully, the winds of change can destroy notions of those in suits sipping their fancy drinks, at rooftop bars that shall remain nameless, that called me gay or fag. Even if I was, so what? What is this need to categorize someone? As a designer, every day I need to judge and critique work before it gets seen by others. And I do so with vast amounts of prior knowledge, and intensive research on the subject matter. I do not make snap judgements because I dislike the color green. I critique based on reason or logic. So this night, I literally put myself in those shoes. The shoes of a woman that wanted to be beautiful, but was actually born a man. I didn’t mean too, that wasn’t the intention, but it happened. And I experienced a very, very, very small amount of hate. I didn’t like it. And trust me, to be able to still recall this through the haze that was this evening, is a very powerful thing.
I suppose society would be ok if we didn’t make knee-jerk reactions to things like race, income level, or sexual orientation. But we all have eyes and unfortunately a growing number of people with eyes also have smart phones, and putting tags onto things is what we do now right? Hashtag this and hashtag that. Tag who is in the photo with you. Tag your location. Tag you’re it. We are trying to categorize and store our memories into silos to be easily searched and culled through. The problem is, not everything fits into a perfect box, and no matter how brilliantly observant you are, you will never understand until you experience it yourself. So, how can we get everyone to experience tolerance? The Queen has an idea.
Put on your finest dress, and start someone a story. Be sure to bring cake.