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Michael Musto

Inside the 'Disarm Hate' Rally in DC—Tears and Hope!

gays against guns
Gays Against Guns in the NYC Pride March/Facebook

Also: A Golden Girls Puppet Show! Drag Star Tells of Bottoming Exploits!

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people" goes the familiar saying. Yeah, people with guns. And if they couldn't so easily get guns, there wouldn't be as much violence--it's as simple as that. Someone on my Facebook page suggested that if the Orlando shooter couldn't get a gun, he might have just killed all those people with rocks. Really? Do you honestly picture the guy just blithely sauntering into a nightclub with a gigantic bag of 100 rocks, followed by him throwing them at people's heads without interruption, felling them one by one? Spare me.

No wonder LGBTS have mobilized extra fiercely against the excesses of weaponry. In July, Gays Against Guns and other groups gathered a crowd to march outside Trump Tower in New York City, with signs saying "NRA Hate Kills" and "GOP Has Blood On Its Hands." And yesterday, the DC division of Gays Against Guns was one of many groups cooperating with Disarm Hate, a rally in Washington D.C., which made a passionate statement on one of today's most pressing issues. The mission was for the community to demand equal rights and realistic gun reform, "to make sure the Orlando 49 did not die in vain." The point isn't taking guns away from those who own them, mind you--only in protecting the rights of potential victims. Like Hillary Clinton, they don't plan to mess with the Second Amendment, only to reform things so there's some more regulation going on to make things more livable. In the process, Disarm Hate aims to create a nationwide registry of gun owners and to ascertain that people on the No-Fly list can't have a gun. ("No Fly, No Buy").

I was there for the rally, in West Potomac Park, near the Martin Luther King monument (which is white, by the way, but don't let me start), across from the Washington Monument. A diverse crowd assembled in the scorching heat, grabbing at bottles of cold water being given out, to hear songs, call and repeats, hate crime statistics, and heady messages. One speaker demanded "the right to live free of fear for all people," while another said she wanted criminal and mental background checks for anyone trying to purchase a gun. A woman who'd lost a child to a cop's gun declared, "It's got to stop." Someone else recited a prayer to God, which made me uncomfortable, until I realized this was the God who loves everyone equally, the God we all can learn from.

This kind of action manages to bring back my percolating ACT UP spirit, especially when you get a taste of the opposition you still face. Near the rally, a few stragglers stood, holding posters with allegedly antagonistic views, most notably "All Rights Matter." These are the same dim bulbs who think Black Lives Matter is somehow a threat to legally-behaving white people. By the way, a larger protest in DC will happen on August 27, making for two weeks of gunning for gun control.

On a lighter note, DC's Town club--right off the extremely happening U Street--was buzzing the night before the rally, as I learned when manager Dougie Meyer (a friend from New York) welcomed me in. Downstairs, a crowd whooped and hollered for every move the drag performers made, while upstairs, some hot and wiry gogo boys (especially Olly) set the mood as the crowd danced around to upbeat music. This is the celebratory culture we need to preserve and keep safe.


Meryl Streep, Florence Foster JenkinsAn invaluable ally to Hillary, the great Meryl Streep has been promoting Florence Foster Jenkins with words and wisdoms. Meryl revealed at a press conference the other day that she won't pursue the intended HBO adaptation of Master Class--the Terrence McNally play about opera diva Maria Callas--which was originally going to be directed by Mike Nichols (who died in 2014). Meryl said Nichols had done so much conceptual work with her in preparing the adaptation that it doesn't make sense to move forward with it in his absence. And interestingly, she went from wanting to play the world's best opera singer to playing the absolute worst.

One thing Meryl said she does want to do is come back to Broadway, but only in something original, not a revival. If she managed to appear in something this season, she would add even more luster to the most exhilarating group of potential Best Actress Tony nominees in ages: Nicole Kidman (Photograph 51), Sally Field (The Glass Menagerie), Cate Blanchett (The Present), Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon (The LittleFoxes), Diane Lane (The Cherry Orchard), Janet McTeer (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), Angela Lansbury (The Chalk Garden), Judith Light (When God Looked Away), Jennifer Ehle (Oslo), Mary-Louise Parker (Heisenberg)...and that's just for starters. To beat them all, Meryl should expand her hilarious Trump impersonation into a full-length show, and then she can win Best Actor too.


Another gender straddler, NYC drag star Fiona (aka James Palacio), has lived quite an eye-popping life, and is here to tell about it in a new book, The Life & Crimes of Fiona St. James. The Bronx-born drag queen recounts lively tales of having been an escort, the Empress of the Imperial Court of New York, and a performer on TV shows from Oz to Orange is the New Black. Some of the most vivid passages in the book, naturally, involve sex acts. About losing his virginity at 18, Palacio writes, "He said he wanted to fuck me and knew that I had never been. I was so turned on that, while kissing me, he slowly penetrated me and I wasn't even aware. It was like butter on toast how easily he slid in...He was very hung and thick. I had always fantasized about getting fucked, but experiencing the joy of it was mind blowing. My butt was so alive, and feeling this wonderful sensation solidified that I was a true bottom." Yikes! "My butt was so alive" needs to embroidered on a line of pillows for drag queens immediately.

Crimes-of-fionaEven more colorful is the passage about the various johns Fiona had sex with. (This section might not be considered totally correct, but hey, I'm not censoring.) "One in particular was missing an arm," the book says. "I figured so long as he had one working hand, he could dig into his pocket and give me cash. Then there was the one with a prosthetic leg. When we finished, I looked over and saw his leg chilling out by the refrigerator and I said, 'Can I give you a leg?' We both laughed since it had innocently come out of my mouth." And God knows what went in there, lol.

Here's a much sadder story: A trans nightclub goddess, Dylan Monroe, died recently, and has been mourned by those who knew and loved her as a presence and a pal. A close friend of Dylan's confirmed to me that the cause was a heroin overdose. I had been concerned about a guy she'd been dating at some point, but the friend assured me that that person had nothing whatsoever to do with her death; "He was in jail when it happened."


Sophia-golden_girls_1I've seen The Golden Girls done as a drag show--and no, I'm not referring to the TV version, lol. But now the immortal sitcom about four mature women living, loving and zinging together goes from heartfelt to just plain felt. They're becoming puppets! Give them a hand--inside a sock--because I can exclusively announce that That Golden Girls Show!: A Puppet Parody is coming to DR2 Theater (103 E. 15th Street) for a run from September 19 through December 11. The show's creator is Jonathan Rockefeller, who studied under BazLuhrmann, created The Very HungryCaterpillar Show, and is available for interviews, along with the four puppets. And believe me, they've got a lot to say. Their mouths are weapons--but these ladies use them wisely.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Michael Musto