Drag queen goes to the big tent.
Is there room in the big tent for a drag queen?
Dan Savage is the author of the sex-advice column "Savage Love," which runs in sixteen papers, including the Village Voice, Chicago Reader, and The Stranger, and reaches a million and a half readers. He is also a delegate to the Republican convention in King County, Washington.
Savage is debating whether to attend the convention in drag.
"If progressives join the GOP, perhaps we could temper its social Neanderthalism," he wrote in an opinion piece in The Stranger. "A little moderation, a few cooler heads, and we could save the Republicans from themselves, and in the process save ourselves from the Republicans."
Savage was the only person who registered Republican in his mostly Democratic precinct, which automatically made him a Republican precinct committee officer and a delegate to the county convention. To make trouble, he voted for Pat Buchanan.
At first, GOP officials claimed that he had registered in the wrong district, but Savage kept his papers and they eventually backed down.
In full drag, with spike heels, wig, and hat, he stands seven feet five inches.
"I'm not going to walk in there with dynamite strapped to my body or anything," Savage says. "I can either come as a boy, and they can play nice, or if they're going to be jerks about it, I'll come as a girl and play dirty."
And Savage knows how to play dirty.
At the University of Illinois at Champaign-urbana, where he got his degree in theater, he became involved in queer activism. Then he spent a year in Madison, Wisconsin, where he ran ACT UP.
One of ACT-UP's issues at the time was the treatment of prisoners with AIDS within the Wisconsin prison system. In one case, Savage says, a doctor ordered nutritional supplements for a prisoner but "he got just an extra peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
"So we delivered a PB&J to [Governor Tommy] Thompson's office for a year."
After "throwing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Tommy Thompson," Savage moved to Washington and started his popular sex column. "I think I'm much more effective now sitting at the computer and answering people's letters. You can take power by being entertaining, by making people laugh."
Salvage says he hopes to go on to the state convention--and beyond.
"Maybe I'll get to be a delegate to the national convention," he says. "But come November, I'll vote for Bill Clinton, because I may be a Republican now, but I'm not a moron."
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|Title Annotation:||Republican convention delegate Dan Savage|
|Date:||Jul 1, 1996|
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