“What’s Up Dude?” by Pete Rivera reprinted from the August 1988 issue of Times Squared

This is the fourth in our series on drag in Times Squares. View previous or next article.

I’m not into wearing drag. And so, I don’t do it. But there are a few of our club members that (thank goodness) do. So often they are ridiculed for it and I guess that’s the price they pay for being outrageous. Still, their outrageousness ignites a spark of gaiety in our bunch of squares. It’s my thought that we gay men and women could benefit from encouraging and supporting those who share their harmless fun of dressing up.

As much as I would like lesbians in our club (so other women will feel more comfortable) I feel that that is their choice to make. (Editor’s note: Pete is referring to the lesbian organization that was looking into joining our club, but decided against it when they saw some members in drag at the parade.) If they accept us for what we are – GREAT! If they don’t – who needs them anyway? We don’t need militant dykes that love to fag bash. Then there is this creep who for whatever reason was going to donate some money to our cause, but the poor thing had a change of heart because one of our muscle-bound girls was mentioned in a city newspaper.

What’s up dude – are you jealous?

Our number of dress-ups are minimal. So many homosexuals lose their jobs or seek less paying jobs just to be free to be who they are. Are we to sell ourselves dead city to please some jerk with big bucks because he doesn’t enjoy associating himself with drags? How far will this go? Will some heterosexual sponsor OUR GAY CLUB as long as we don’t do-sa-do with the same sex? I feel sick! My stomach turns at the thought that money would override our right to be. Why don’t we all just join a straight square dance club where we can be assured that those who dress up are biological women?

I heard tell that less than a hand count showed up to march with us in female attire and were criticized for doing so. I’m shocked that even a hint of negative thought was judged against them on the day that was supposedly our proudest day of all. And I though t fish was stinky.

Where is the BOARD in their duties of protecting these MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING’S dignity? Why don’t I hear them sneering at those who would stomp all over us? It is so difficult for many of us to come out of our closets – and finally when we do, some along with their sister’s high heels and their mother’s bag and pearls … are we to abandon them?

To our ladies of the mustache persuasion – I’ll defend your honor. I hope I’m not alone. If the world sees you belles as an exact representation of us – so be it. We know we don’t all dress up, but the ignorance of the world at large doesn’t have to be ours.

Luv Ya Gals!