Diary of a Drag Queen

Joyelle McSweeney, Author, Fence Books, Manufactured by . Fence $14.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-9740909-3-1

In this rambling memoir–cum–cultural study, essayist Harris (The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture ; Cute ) describes the time he spent dressing in women's clothes to attract heterosexual men. "In the bedroom of the drag queen, the heterosexual and the homosexual, like the lion and the lamb, lie down on the same sheets," he writes in a typically purple passage. Harris himself admits he didn't make a particularly convincing woman; nevertheless, "Denial"—as Harris called his female persona—met sex partners in Internet chatrooms far more easily than 45-year-old white, gay Daniel found dates in regular New York. And the men who came by to hook up didn't require much convincing. The book alternates chapters narrated by "Him" with ones told by "Her." "Him" provides a taxonomy of the kind of guys who go for a really bad drag queen: closet cases, straight men who like sex without having to pay for it or date women, "genuine fetishists" and the just plain horny. "Her" details the humiliations of shopping and makeup expeditions, and enough dates gone wrong to fill several new Bridget Jones novels. Harris is most provocative when discussing the place of a white drag queen in an urban black neighborhood. His observations on the messiness of sexual identity pack less punch. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/11/2005
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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