The Slap of Love
February 17, 2012 12:24 PM   Subscribe

The Slap of Love A 1995 article from Open City, On House Xtravaganza and the life and death of its house mother Angie Xtravaganza, one of the stars of the documentary Paris is Burning, which brought vogueing and New York City’s transgendered ball culture into the spotlight. [via]

Dorian Corey, interviewed in the article, was the subject of a New York magazine cover story, "The Drag Queen Had a Mummy in Her Closet".
posted by mlis (3 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Man, now I think I need to go watch "Paris Is Burning" again.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:15 PM on February 17, 2012

As much as I enjoyed reading the article (and then the [more inside], good god, how did I miss that!), I take issue with the first line, "This is the story of ..." because it's not, really, is it? It's got the same issue Paris is Burning had: You're watching these people be very, very carefully portrayed in a way that's absolutely superficial, with no insight. A little bit of tragedy, some good-natured humor, a little bit of sad glamor, and everyone having basically the same biography.

Not that you have to have some heavy-handed psychoanalysis about replacing one's absent mother with oneself or anything stupid like that...but what made that culture so attractive? Why did so many people find comfort and identity in it? Surely they didn't all come from exactly the same backgrounds, with the same motivations. (They didn't all have corpses wrapped in naugahyde hidden in suitcases!) So why the easy division of these lives into bad beginning, drag shows, and then the miserable death, as though these are the only parts of interest, the only parts that make sense?
posted by mittens at 5:18 PM on February 17, 2012

Angie refused to talk about her childhood, to anyone. She’d never been a scrawny boy named Angel Segarra, one of 13 children, most of whom had different fathers. She wasn’t the son of an abusive Puerto Rican woman in the South Bronx. She hadn’t had a rotten, violent childhood haunted by Catholicism.


Though you’d have to have been legally blind to think of Dorian as a beauty, she was undeniably spectacular. Six feet tall, she had on another foot and a half of silver hair. She wore more makeup than some women apply cumulatively over their entire lives. Her low-cut black bugle-beaded gown showed a few stray curly hairs nestled in her silicone décolletage.
Tips for authors #137: Remember, when writing about trans people, they can only ever be portrayed as a) tragic, b) deceptive or, ideally, c) tragic and deceptive.

I would stop pointing out these painful clichés in articles about trans people if the authors would just stop using them.
posted by jiawen at 11:23 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

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