Holly Woodlawn, the last of the transgender "Warhol Superstars" died at the tail end of 2015 with little fanfare
I guess she got a bit in a memoriam in an episode of the Oscars (barf) but whatever - there was not much media coverage of her passing
( there was also not much media coverage of John Trudell's passing either, Native American activist, who died two days after her)
There is still Jane County hanging around, shilling for Israel, but I don't think she is counted amongst the Warhol superstars; she was her own punk phenomena, being one of the first people to introduce fashion-held-together-with-clothespins to the masses
Those were the days, that was the movie: living the artistic life in Greenwich village in the 60's, staying at the Chelsea, living on the periphery. No rules, no boundaries, within this microcosm of a restrictive world. Following your thoughts and creative pursuits wherever they may lead, everything was possible, and every day more exciting than the last; living it down and dirty in the moment. Individuals striving to be their authentic selves, in an authentic way, and it was sooo cool. I watched this movie so many times to house my cowering spirit animal, when it got cold and worn in the real world
At any rate, during these same past few years since Woodlawn's death, my perspective on the whole "solidarity with trans and homosexual people" has dramatically changed.
They were a huge part of my outside identity, people I thought I could relate to very well, people I thought definitely belonged in the population of my imaginary cities
But it's like the air was let out of the balloon, and the enthusiasm is gone
This is for several reasons
you're becoming normal
"Holly, do you think that the armed services discriminate against transsexuals?" Holly: "Thank God they do, or I'd be fighting in Vietnam"
The darkest days of trans and gay people have passed, in my opinion
And these were the best days of their lives
They are still discriminated against, and they are even still being killed (in the US, and certain Muslim and other countries), but their media presence has sky rocketed in the US, and their existence becomes more normalized by the day
And you know what? They mostly did it themselves, with the stonewall riots, and general changes in society not necessarily caused by the work of activist allies
Gay people got the federal right to marry in 2015. I voted for Barack Obama solely because he said he was for gay marriage.
I thought when gay people got the right to marry, I would be free as well, because a little more freedom allotted to someone else meant more freedom for me
I remember driving down Carnegie Avenue to work so many mornings seeing the billboard proclaiming his full support behind the issue. It was THE ONLY REASON I voted for him, because for all intents and purposes, he is and was a puppet of US corporate imperialism
The masses cheered as June of that year unfolded, and I remember congratulating gay coworkers on their victory and a new found freedom
Congratulating gay co-workers who made fun of feminism
where is the solidarity???
Intersectional feminism really is a product of women's thinking
Women, always thinking about others, putting others before themselves, MOTHERS
So they came up with intersectional feminism, to take into consideration other factors that may play a role in someone's oppression
And while this doesn't mean ALL feminists subscribe to this ( they don't; there are probably hundreds of variations of "feminist" out there), I've seen few instances of solidarity from other oppressed groups
I have never seen gays or trans people come up with "intersectional gay or trans rights movement", especially since some of the most high profile gay and trans people, like Blair White and Caitlyn Jenner (pictured above, in case you didn't know) are surprisingly right wing and could care less
When I bring this up, people tell me it's because they've had it so hard, but haven't women had it hard too?
The only well known gay personage in the US that I have seen demonstrate any support for women and their rights has been George Takei, but even that I take with a grain of salt given he has been known to make jokes based on female stereotypes
Some would say the phenomenon of the drag-queen is a mockery of women, many who don't even dress and do their makeup in such extreme ways
I had a gay friend who considered himself to be "feminist" but constantly mocked by questions about guys and my intelligence
What I realized I was witnessing was that once major-league oppressed groups start to become less oppressed, they start to appear more human, and they start to appear, and act, and emerge, to be just like everybody else, like they always were
They have no allegiances to "activism" or "social justice". I was surprised when I first heard of "gay republicans". Liberals are still incensed at the phenomenon of the "Black Conservative". How could they dooo such a thing? How could they possibly think like that? Alt-right women?
What does it all mean???
I assumed all oppressed peoples stuck together: they don't
I assumed all oppressed peoples were some thinking, unfeeling amorphous blob whose sole purpose in life was just begging to be saved
And don't they understand what we have all done for them? How we stood by them, as the rest of the world spat on them?
They owe us their allegiance!
"You're born naked and the rest is drag"
no longer fabulous, no longer owed my allegiance
Whether you call it "gender dysphoria", or you believe there are a thousand genders and sex is not based on your genitals, I did learn this one thing, and it was huge relief:
They're just people
When they were not as well accepted, they were different people; they were fabulous
Like Candy Darling, a Warhol Superstar who died when she was only 29, who decided not to undergo sex-reassignemnt surgery because in the paraphrased words of her best friend Jeremiah "she would have been less fabulous"
Now that the oppressed are becoming more acceptable, are they now, less fabulous?
There is something about being oppressed that really lends a special flavor to a life story, to a movement, to a group of people
It also blinds you to their faults. That people who are "oppressed" can be just as shitty as people with more privilege
And they can be just as nice
Like the working class poseur who eschews privilege to "slum it" with the working classes, a group of people he glorifies in his mind, and whose naive fantasy comes crashing down around him when he hears the racist and sexist shit some of them often spew
Yep, just people
At different stages of societal acceptance
In this video at around 5:40, Candy Darling can barely spit out her wish to be married some day. She and Jackie Curtis (sitting next to her) consider this so far-fetched that they chuckle at the thought. It's kind of sad really, because if you read her diary ( available at our local library, and one of my favorite books of all time ), she longed for those kinds of things, and lived in a lingering despair that she would never get them
It's interesting because today, you have the likes of Blair White, a transgender conservative youtube superstar who doesn't think twice about the prospect of getting married to her current boyfriend
But you have to wonder if Candy enjoyed the longing, the despair: was it a part of her persona? She often decried people getting old and idolized blonde movie stars who died young, like Marilyn Monroe, and then she herself lived out this fantasy, not achieving life past 30
Was it a part of the personae of all the people I admired in the Warhol clique, Valerie Solanas being the one I admired most ( and the least affiliated with his entourage)? Was it their doom-soaked lives that were so attractive to a terminally melancholy person like myself?
Or was it the isolation, the special place they had created for themselves, on the outskirts of the "Real World" that so appealed to me?
Yeah, that was probably it
And now that the mystique is gone, because you are all part of the mainstream now, and getting more and more integrated by the day, you no longer represent a special magical underground world, looking in from the outside
You are obviously free to pursue your life's goals at will, and you owe me no allegiance at all
And I, no longer owe you mine
Cara Piss - De Beauvoisin abandoned her five children and Catholic family to pursue...something