I have posted previously about the politics of drag and how my views changed immensely during the 80s. One of the factors in changing my opinion was the huge amount of support by drag performers for HIV/AIDS organisations and people with HIV/AIDS. My earliest experience of this was The Night of a Thousand Frocks, organised at London’s Hippodrome Club to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust.
As the following clip shows, this was very much a glittering occasion (and it doesn’t even show the hundreds of other outfits worn by audience members!). Even the judging panel was made up of the ‘drag-errati’ of London scene, including Kris Kirk and Ed Heath, authors of Men in Frocks.
Somewhat ironically, having previously perceived men in drag as anti-women, it was a male stripper at a THT benefit some months earlier who blew me away with his misogynistic comments. At one point he was threatening to withdraw from the show because there were women (or ‘fish’ as he referred to them) in the audience. Needless to say, the fact that he was prepared to jeopardise a benefit event because of his vile prejudice did nothing to endear me to him! And it goes without saying that no one in Terrence Higgins Trust supported his pathetic views.