I built much of my career on Dungeons & Dragons, orcs, goblins, and mad wizards. So why drag queens and LGBTQ+ Stuff? I think it deserves an answer, even if it isn’t always asked out-right.
A Look at Things
Let’s look a few things to help explain where this is coming from. I am a cis, white, middle-aged married man. I built a small following by doing illustrations and writing in the tabletop gaming world. Generally speaking, painting orcs and goblins is the safe zone for my audience. They want swords and sorcery. Things were flowing along nicely for everyone, then out of no where I start plugging an LGBTQ+ art show and painting drag queens.
Before you all change the channel, please let me explain why I took this on, and why it matters.
Being an Artist
First off, I reserve the right to be weird, unexpected, and unusual just because I wear the title of “artist” but that isn’t a reason to take on this show I am putting together. I reserve the right to do things other than just make adventures to improve myself and the world in which I live.
We live in a place where people deserve to pursue happiness, liberty, and life. They deserve the dignity, respect, and space to be themselves. Not that I am revealing a political position but, you can be a patriotic American without being an extreme conservative.
One of the biggest killers in the trans community is suicide. People, Americans, are living in fear to pursue themselves, their liberty, their happiness. If someone is putting their lives at risk to be themselves in America, this should be at least a little upsetting to you.
About the LGBTQ+ Why
I honestly don’t know a lot about being a drag queen, gay, queer, bi, trans, fluid, or any of these things. I do know that suicide runs rampant in the community. I also know that getting abused by others is out of control in this community. But why?
I see PEOPLE here. American people if you want to be more specific, even though my readers are all over the planet. We can’t honestly think it’s just a bit of “fun” for a married 40 year-old man deep in the red bible belt to emerge from his house one day wearing a bright skirt and make up to go to the grocery store. Does anyone think it’s really just a “sexy fun” game to lose your community, family, kids? To be beaten to near-death? Reviled? shot at? Spit on? Some people are truly hurting to simply be themselves. It can’t be just a “sexy game”. Others don’t need to “approve”, believe me when I say most of the people in this community ALREADY know whatever biblical phrase, from any religious book, has to say on the topic. Some truly struggle with those things and who they are.
The above quote is regarding women’s issues, but I think Patrick Stewart would be ok with me extending it for this purpose. Why wouldn’t I want to offer other human beings who are struggling my voice? If nothing else, simply an acknowledgement of being a person. A person worthy of dignity, respect, and the freedom to be human. With this show, I want to help transform some views of people in the LGBTQ+ community. What if people are worthy of being a muse. Worthy of art, worthy of admiration? Because they are. These are people in my world.
I honestly believe the best way to grow is to step outside of our comfort zones and safety bubbles. If you don’t know anyone in the LGBTQ+ community, I would bet you at least know someone who is LGBTQ+ and they aren’t telling you. Go meet some new people. shut up when you do. We can meet people without speaking about our religious, political, and personal views. Ask about others for a change. Getting out of our comfort zone isn’t about forcing our comfort zones into new territory, it’s about experiencing that new territory for what it is.
“That’s not normal!” Is a joking phrase in our house. but it’s a serious phrase in society. Set this aside, and discover someone else’s “normal” for a change. You might find some new friends, allies, and who knows what else.
This is where I close things up with my personal take. It’s ok to be uncomfortable. I think highlighting the beauty in things that make some people uncomfortable might help spark some conversations and understanding. I am truly enjoying meeting drag queens, painting them, drawing them, hearing the stories. I still also enjoy creating Dungeons & Dragons stories and adventures.
Drag queen aren’t the whole community, only a small bit. The queens are just my piece of the show. It would be foolish to think that “Planescape” represents all Role Playing Games.
In the end, these are human beings. People with a story. People. We are setting aside the heartache, the strife, the death and depression. We are celebrating how far things have come. The beauty, the success. Maybe this one show will be a tiny beacon of hope for someone in darkness. Maybe some hope that there are successes, there are people who care.
I hope to see as diverse a crowd as can be assembled come to see the art, to talk, to ask questions and maybe make new friends.