This is our truth, tell us yours
My co-conspirator has written with style and philosophical depth about Conchita and gender. I tried to talk about this subject here, but in retrospect it’s a small contribution compared to my philosophical companions efforts.
My understanding of the difference between being transgendered and being a drag act is that transgendered people are trying to be the person they believe themselves to be, whilst drag artists are trying to be a caricature.
Now I’m as fond of a good caricature as anyone, and some drag acts provide an insight or three into both the world view of the drag artist, and the people they’re playing. Paul O’Grady’s Lily Savage was in part affectionate and sentimental; Dame Edna, on the other hand, was a prolonged sneer from a position of assumed intellectual superiority. Each of them told us, through their acts and their topics of conversation, about what mattered to them,and what didn’t.
Conchita appears to belong to the Danny La Rue school of drag; as beautiful as the film of colours on the surface of a soap bubble and with the same depth and substance. It’s hard to be angry about Conchita, because chastising Tom Neuwirth for coming up with such a shallow, shabby and second rate act would be unlikely to make him any wiser.
Nevertheless anyone who tells us that Conchita’s victory tells us something about the world, or the acceptance of gay or transgendered people needs to explain why Dana International didn’t change the world for the better and solve all our problems. Along the way, we may have found out something about media commentators so desperate to have something to say that they will assign huge significance to anything and nothing, but for transgendered people will not be any better off, and may even be worse off.