Your dad is reported to have accidentally made some pretty compelling points about gender performance while watching an old episode of Drag Race with you.
“I was definitely nervous when he started watching it with me,” you say. “I just didn’t feel like getting into an argument or hearing cringey, misguided comments.”
“But much to my surprise, he really made some thought-provoking observations,” you add. “Out of the mouths of babes, I guess.”
While your dad initially had some confusion over the fact that both trans women and cis men may be drag performers on the show, he concluded: “Well they’re all women right now, anyway.”
“At first I was like literally what are you talking about,” you say. “But then I was like, wow, what a profound reading of gender as existing only within the temporal and physical syntax of its performance. A true testament to its inherent fluidity, malleability, and highly personal yet social relationship to its subject.”
You were quick to feel frustrated when your dad asked if a more feminine contestant was “still cis”, but with more consideration became moved by the sentiment.
“It’s like, yeah, let’s go there, dad,” you say. “So much gatekeeping comes from anxiety over the watering down of terms, but maybe it’s okay for terms to lose meaning because then we’re forced to use more precise language in navigating our experiences rather than throwing these loaded and messy signifiers at one another.”
“Maybe the destruction of existing language through the pressure points of misunderstanding is essential to progress,” you add.
When asked about his experience watching Drag Race with you, your dad was less loquacious.
“Yeah, that was fun!” says dad.
He then asked if he can say, “Yes, queen,” but we’ll leave that conversation to the two of you.