February is the month for Valentine’s Day and for falling in love (and chocolate). And, yes, even drag queens need love and romance too. Oh and did I mention chocolate. Well my muse for this column on “Drag Queen Love” came from my good Judy (drag lingo for friend) Shelita Bonet Hoyle and her recent Facebook post. She states:

“Sorry…Couldn’t help myself…Had another negative run in again by another gentleman caller because I dress as an oversized woman on the weekends…Geeeee, to be the “most inclusive underrepresented minority” we sure do beat ourselves up, break each other down and judge harshly, don’t we?

When will we stop focusing on bullshit, internalized homophobia, and the fear of femininity — and start paying attention to the PEOPLE we meet…Life passes you by every single day — are you so focused on certain aspects that your [sic] missing other beautiful things that could be added to your life?”

This Facebook post was alongside her photo with the caption “MASC 4 MASC ONLY” and then at the bottom it reads: “And by MASC I mean Mascara.” Well, way to tell those boys what they are missing girl. You are exactly right.

You see, I have heard this same thing from other drag queens all too many times in Charlotte and elsewhere. And then I see these same gay or bisexual men who have these trivial concepts of “masculinity” complain that they are not able to find a relationship or anyone to date. Duh.

Apps like Grindr only reinforce the mentality of labels like “masc for masc” or “top only.” These labels are misleading and destroying the potential for true love. It is one thing to have great sex and you can do it often on these apps. But it is another thing to connect with someone you love and have a relationship.

What we fail to understand is that the assertion you will only date other masculine men is rooted in your own internalized homophobia. Limiting yourself to “masculine” men is a false notion. It can also be an indicator of transphobic stereotyping and other underlying mysognist feelings.

Many gay or bisexual men get stuck in their sexual identity development at this stage.They were taught early-on by society about stereotypes which equate being gay with being feminine. As a result, some gay or bi men assert a false masculinity to prove this wrong. This only harms these individuals by not allowing them to be free to be who they are and their life-long relationships.

It is sad to be queer and live in a box of hetero-normativity. There are straight men that are more relaxed and comfortable with the spectrum of gender expression than some gay and bisexual men in our community. Sad face.

The fact that a gay man who is cisgender wears makeup, dress and heels should not be an indicator of his masculinity — or femininity. The clothing we wear is just drag.

If a guy you really like looks like Ryan Kalil #67 for the Carolina Panthers and you find out that he wears a dress as a drag queen, does that make him less masculine? Why does the aspect of being a drag queen matter, if you are attracted to the person? And by person, I mean who they are emotionally, spiritually, physically — a real connection.

My husband and I have been together 20 plus years. We are far from perfect as a couple, but one thing we have learned is that who we are is much more than what we wear or how we look. When we turn 70 years-old and are in the rocking chair on the front porch, our connection will be love — not superficial notions of masculinity and whether one of us is wearing heels. If we would have let gender norms get in the way, we may have never gone out on a date.

I know Shelita and my other Judys are amazing individuals. Yes, I am talking about you too, Lola Lovelace. For some lucky guy, these men who happen to be drag queens have so much love to give someone.

I challenge you to get to know a drag queen. Dig deep. Find some drag queen love. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate.

DRAG TIP: Shelita loves Snickers!

SHOUT OUTS: Come out to the opening night of Casa Valentina on Thursday, Feb. 18 and expand your mind about gender expression. Plus half of proceeds from opening night benefit Campus Pride to support LGBTQ youth. Learn more online at queencitytheatre.com.

— Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and loves chocolate for Valentine’s Day (plus she loves to raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly Saturday night shows, Sunday drag brunch and regular Friday night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye

Buff Faye

Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to help save the world from Republicans (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly...