The "Horror" of
by: Laura Green
a drag queen is a horrendous thing.
Lets gather around and have a good laugh!!!
the message the University of Western Ontarios
daily newspaper seemed to be saying in a caption
that ran below a front-page photo on Thursday,
photo showed Perry Monaco, vice president of campus
issues for the University Students Council,
dressed in drag and kneeling over another male
lying on the floor. The caption read "OH
THE HORROR, THE HORROR. Perry Monaco ...
serviced students yesterday in the University
the paper did it mention that this scene took
place following a performance by two real drag
queens. Or that the event was part of an effort
to publicize Coming Out week on campus.
no article to accompany the photo. No mention
of the element of celebration and pride that is
involved in a drag queens performance. No
commentary on how some members of Westerns
community are still subject to homophobic divisions
and discrimination. No words of support or resources
for those people that Coming Out week was aiming
were left with the impression that a student representative
dressed in drag was an incident to be mocked.
An event that should have heightened students
awareness and understanding in a fun way was reduced
to a distorted image of the reality of being gay,
lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.
many UWO students didnt know why the picture
was on the front page. "I
have no idea what this picture is about,"
said first-year student
Lindsay Hunter. "The
caption should have had some information about
what its pertaining to ... it doesnt
tell me anything."
the picture was taken after a drag queen performance
that was part of a series of events for coming
out week Hunter didnt think that it was
felt that the caption was outright discrimination
towards cross-dressers. "It
shows a bias against drag, its not accepting
it," said second-year student Benjamin
disappointed with the caption. "Nowhere
did it mention why I was doing this ... I was
hoping that the whole purpose was to draw attention
to the week," said Monaco.
picked up the paper would have no idea whats
would have been nice if they could have tied it
into coming out week."
of an individuals lifestyle choice is not
humorous for everyone. Lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgendered individuals are frequently the
subject of ridicule and hate crimes.
Statistics from the 1998 FBI Uniform Crime Reports
indicate that gays, lesbians and bisexuals ranked
third in reported hate crimes in America.
There are no statistics available for Canada.
these statistics are controversial because law
enforcement experts agree that when compared to
other crimes, hate crimes aimed at homosexuals
are underreported to the police. In many cases,
minority groups have historically strained relationships
with law enforcement. They dont report crimes
to the police because they fear being victimized
again. Homosexuals also fear "outing"
themselves by reporting a hate crime caused by
their sexual orientation.
James Miller, director of UWOs Pride library,
praised Monacos efforts to heighten awareness.
"The use of humour
to diffuse tension and potential violence ...
is a very brave thing to do. Perry has obviously
taken it upon himself as part of his job with
campus issues ... hes getting into the spirit
of celebrating sexual diversity."
that there are still many misunderstandings about
an assumption that gay men are automatically drag
queens. That homophobic assumption is deeply rooted
in misogyny." Miller also said that
there is a common confusion between gender identity
and sexual identity. "Some
people just cant wrap their heads around
the fact that a drag queen could be straight."
that in the queer culture, drag is a celebration.
"All gender is a performance,
whether you are a homosexual or heterosexual,"
is to be praised for setting an example to celebrate
sexual diversity ... hes suggesting that
the rigid policing of gender and sexual lines
is very harmful," said Miller. "By
being so visibly cutting-edge, he was opposing
the anti-homophobia regime."
that there seemed to be a Gazette tradition of
mocking certain groups and officials on campus.
"This has the quality
of an in-joke and I dont think it should
be on the cover of a paper unless it is explained."
more information on this subject, please check
out the following web links or visit the Pride
library located in room 355 of University College.