Wednesday, November 17, 2004

RuPaul vs. Timothy McVeigh

It's hard to know where to begin with this. In addition to the link, I'm providing the entire article for your perusal:

Parent's Homosexuality Worries Get School To End Cross-Dressing Day

POSTED: 7:54 am EST November 17, 2004

SPURGER, Texas -- Boys in the Spurger, Texas, school district won't be wearing dresses Wednesday and girls aren't going to be putting on men's suits.

That after a parent complained about a so-called "cross-dressing" day.

According to the tradition, boys and girls reverse social roles for one day during homecoming week. It lets the older girls invite boys on dates, open doors and pay for sodas. It also calls for guys to dress like girls -- and girls like guys.

However one parent complains the practice has homosexual overtones. School officials call that statement "inflammatory and misleading."

Still, the tradition is being scrapped and the district will hold "Camo Day" instead -- with black boots and Army camouflage to be worn by everyone who wants to participate.
It should be noted that the angered parent and the conservative group she contacted with her concerns are the ones who came up with the name "Cross Dressing Day". The school's actual name of the event is TWIRP ("The Woman Is Requested to Pay") and the main gist of the day is a social reversal of roles. However, by repeating "Cross Dressing Day" ad nauseum, the parent and her conservative allies are hoping it will stick (as it obviously did since it's mentioned in the article title) even when it's something they simply made up.

I also have to note that TWIRP has apparently been done for dozens of homecomings before this with nary a problem. Only now, after an election where the Republican party all but equated toleration of homosexuality with the breaking of the seventh seal, has this become an issue. Not since Roman emperor Justinian declared buggery the cause of earthquakes has a politician convinced a populous that an entirely private matter would ruin civilization.

But this is Texas, after all, so I shouldn't be too shocked. I've come to understand that there are still some people who genuinely still feel uncomfortable with homosexuality. They desire that their government protectors shield them from such acts of deprivation. Like racism, homophobia at large will only go away over a long period of time. I've begrudgingly accepted this, knowing full well that it may not happen in my lifetime. So, given all this, I was ready to let this article pass by with a chuckle.

That is, until I read the last paragraph.

Could they have possibly suggested an alternative that was any farther on the opposite side of the spectrum? Now, I've read comments by members of the military that they find such dressing up disrespectful and physically repulsive, but that's another matter. My point here is that teenagers in these generic costumes do not so much suggest Army soldiers as they do militia or mercenaries. So let's recap: Silly and fun tradition of dressing up as the opposite gender is bad. Dressing up as individuals who blow up federal buildings or kill people for money is good. Should they ban such costumes in school? Hell no. However, all of this does show that what some parents consider to be a healthy alternative to the school's homecoming TWIRP tradition is actually far more disturbing.

Back in 1993, ABC premiered a new cop show called "NYPD Blue". Advance word was that it was a well written and acted police drama. It also slipped out that the show would occasionally feature a swear word and/or very brief nudity. Some ABC affiliates, including the one here in Jacksonville, decided not to air it. This left them with a problem of what to put in it's place for the Tuesday 10pm time slot. Their choice? The syndicated TV series "Robocop". So, in place of the scarring image of David Caruso's pale white hinder, we get a action series based on what was at that time one of the most gory, violent movies ever made. Now, obviously, the TV series was much toned down from the film, but the tendency is still apparent in their choice: Violent subjects and acts are more tolerable than sexual ones.

In all fairness, both "Camo Day" and the costume changes for TWIRP are voluntary. No one at the school is forcing these kids to do either of them. Still, I'd like to think that one day parents wouldn't react to such things in such an extreme way in order to re-enforce what they percieve as their children's fragile masculinity. Perhaps something far more neutral like a "Cowboy Day" would be good, or does that give all you parents bad Village People flashbacks? The horror, the horror.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is the point of Camo Day or Cross Dressing Day or any other fancy dress up day? Is this a productive use of school time?

My own high school had an annual Nerd Day. Dress up like a nerd. It was a simply marvelous day of brutal bullying for dorks like myself.

Off topic, I lived in East Texas for a year, and one thing that surprised me was how freely and openly the white residents expressed the most racist sentiments.--David P.