Tuesday, December 17, 2013

More Decadence for the Mummers Parade

A year ago, the irrelevant Philadelphia Metro Task Force, from the even more mythical Saint David's, PA, was distressed that the Mummers Association decided to allow "a dance troupe that is known as sexually transgender" to perform in the annual parade.

If you've ever seen the Mummers strut up Broad Street on New Years Day, clad in bedazzled dresses and large feather headdresses, you understand how absurd the Task Force's statement really is.

I mean to the unfamiliar, one would likely wonder why the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade took place on New Years morning. The drunken orgy of hot glue and sequins puts our annual Pride Parade to shame. In fact, if the Mummers strutted (a term that might even be too gay for drag queens to use) in the balmy summer they'd undoubtedly be just as scanty clad as the twinks atop Woody's float in June, although they'd probably look more like the boys from the Bike Stop.

Of course the Mummers Association unequivocally ignored the Task Force's letter of concern, stating that the Mummers Drag Brigade was a fine way to attract a broader audience.

Mummers LGBT Liaison Committee
When I first saw this picture on Facebook, I couldn't decide who looked more awkward, our city's drag queens or our city's leaders. Then I realized that our city's people working together is exactly what makes Philadelphia such an amazingly embracing place. Bravo, ladies and gentlemen.
This year the Mummers Parade will again host drag queens and now, drag kings. To the folks at PMTF, there is a difference between a drag queen and a "sexually transgender" person. Watch Too Wong Foo, Wesley Snipes has a great monologue that explains it all.

What drag queens and drag kings do isn't much different than every other Mummer in the parade's century long history. They put on make up and they perform. But how one identifies shouldn't matter in a parade that brings all Philadelphians together, and it doesn't matter to the Mummers Association. And that's fabulous.

In respect to history, female impersonators regularly participated in the Mummers Parade into the 1970s when women were allowed to participate. Councilman Jim Kenny, who's been a champion of LGBT causes in Philadelphia, helped bring the queens back to the Mummers Parade after their last appearance in 1989.

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