Join in the fun of HalloweenBill's Briefs Thursday, October 27th, 2011
Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs
Of course, “full-time” drag queens and kings are people who love to dress up. But every weekend they are joined by accountants, doctors and hamburger flippers who turn into leather-loving bikers, cowboys, T-shirt-and-jeans bears and many other costumed characters.
For the rest of us, there’s always Halloween. All Hallows Eve is nearly upon us, and now is the time for regular folk to expand self-images closer in line with our fantasies. In Hillcrest, the sky’s the limit, and – whether you’ve been out in our town during the witching night before or not – the elaborate costumes and masks will amaze you.
My costume memories are mixed. In first grade I insisted everyone was wearing costumes to school; so mother ruined a perfectly good pillow case and sent me off as a ghost. On arriving I was the only one in costume. The teacher was thrilled, and made me sing the “Pumpkin Song” and dance around a huge pumpkin alone. My classmates responded to my adorableness with far less enthusiasm.
Junior high school brought my class’ assembly project. We sang “How much is that doggie in the window” with everyone dressed as dogs with big signs announcing our breed. I was “Runt.”
I was the one to be chosen at the end by the kind little girl. But, the “kind little girl” was arch-bitch Sindi-Elin Petersen, who on performance skipped over me and chose her boyfriend “Bulldog” Stefen Svatic. Such a betrayal led to our feud all through high school. I’ll never forget senior year when she returned from summer vacation a blond; with four more inches of chest and one inch less of nose; soon becoming Prom Queen, cheerleader, mattress.
Naturally, through my new lifestyle of spiritual mindfulness, I have forgiven her and try never to mention her days of sickness during first period class, her sudden departure to live with her grandmother and then returning after only three weeks oozing charm and smiles. Half the football team seemed to be in a happier mood, also. I have forgiven and forgotten her date for the prom was hunky Chuck Cohen (who had been meeting me in his basement after school for weeks before she got her claws into him). Spawn of Satan! She also triumphed over best gal pal Gloria and me in the costume contest. Gloria was Popeye and I Olive Oyl. We were fabulous, but we couldn’t compete with Sindi’s Marilyn Monroe in an absolutely disgusting display of tits and ass.
Back to costumes. Halloween and Nightmare on Normal Street are coming. So put on your best “wish I was” costume and join the fun. I always look forward to it; although the comments I received last year when I announced I was appearing as Rambo were exceedingly unkind and unnecessary. I was not any more pleased by the group’s general consensus that I should appear as a lawn gnome.
LGBT History Month: Comments for those who will be seniors
I know you young gays and lesbians face many problems, but pretend it is a Friday night, 50 years ago, and you are nearing your favorite gay bar, as I was. Suddenly, you see your friends being pushed into two police vans. Their crime – dancing, loitering and the popular “disrespecting the police.” The next day, as usual, the names of everyone in the bar were in the paper. The result – lost jobs, friends, apartments and family. Usually a fine was paid, but the conviction was on the books. If lucky (or rich), the case was dismissed. No matter, the truth was out; my friends were criminals; mentally sick and a danger to society.
This was our reality. If we took part in any degree of gay/lesbian life, we faced the constant threat of blackmail, the handsome plain-clothed policeman, prison and financial ruin. Do I exaggerate? Ask a senior about the raids and entrapments. You’ll hear some frightening tales of American justice.
Sure, gay life went on, but many could not take the pressure and never dared act on their true inclinations. This was especially true for those in small towns where “queer” things were only sneered at and whispered about.
In the ’70s things got better, due to the Stonewall inspired champions of gay-rights. More freedom and acceptance had just begun when suddenly the plague struck. Progress took a dreadful turn downward. We survived those pain-filled years, and in many ways grew stronger and closer with the tremendously supportive help of the lesbian community.
In my teens and twenties we were invisible, the unspoken of. We existed only when some dreadful crime, they could lay at our feet, had been committed. Yet at the same time, we were learning about Alexander the Great, Richard the Lionheart, Fredrick the Great, Tchaikovsky, Michelangelo and Da Vinci. We read Willa Cather, Edna Ferber, Amy Lowell, Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman. All people to be admired; but never a word about their homosexuality. Had it been mentioned, what a great difference it would have made to me and others who felt alone, unworthy or crazy.
Teaching acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle is a fine concept now being discussed, but to do it without crossing the line of advocating the lifestyle will be a delicate and illusive challenge. But we must take heart. Today, many gays/lesbians are popular TV and film stars; we have the military, marriage, Pride parades and university/high school gay clubs. All incredible changes in my lifetime. So, young people, yes, often it is still rough being gay/lesbian. No argument, but hold your head up and join the struggle. Great strides have been made and will continue. Remember, you are not alone; look at our history.
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