Even with my trifocals on I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the headline in this week’s National Inquisitor, the well-known market-counter tabloid for “unusually fair-minded Catholics and surprisingly accommodating Anglicans.”
Its headline, concerning my dear friend, Sr. Serena Scatterpin, Renegade Sisters of Mary, is shocking (and I don’t mean as in womyn’s basketball).
The headline in 36 pt. Old English Gothic — a typeface popular among charitable but questioning charismatics — reads, NUN NABBED IN BIG BUST!
I wasn’t quite sure who was nabbed or what the bust size or the raid was about, but a revealing picture left little doubt that it was Sr. Scatterpin, or a reasonable facsimile. The latter, according to my urgent cellphone call to Sister proved to be the case.
“That’s not me, sweetie,” said Sister. “You just don’t wear a wimple in public with faux pearls. Not if you have designer good taste. And, if you look closely you’ll see it’s a drag queen. (From the makeup job, probably a left-handed Southern Baptist floozie.)
“By the sweet bye and bye it was a raid on a Recovering Catholic drag party, held in Ferndale during the pope’s recent visit. I’m sure Mayor Covey will have some answering to do. You don”t suspect he’s a — whisper — Baptist do you? Or, left handed?”
“As far as I know, Sister, Mayor Covey’s not an immersionist and, if anything, given his expertise, is ambidextrous. Drag might be a political option. My advice: Don’t sue the National Inquisitor. (Or Covey.) Like all things gay and crossdressing, it’ll blow over if you look the other way. And most crossdressers do look the other way.”
Tabloids. Tabloids. What would the straight world do without them?
Of late they’ve become the Who’s Who of the Lavender World. Take the National Enquirer for example. Each year it carries pictures and stories about many stars who are “that way,” or who would like to be perceived as so. (Not that anybody cares if John McCain is gay. Actually he’s not. Thankfully.)
These days tabloid outing is all so ho hum, but back in the 1950s with Confidential magazine it was a big deal. A lot was innuendo. Queersay. Much smoke and two-way mirrors. But many top-name careers were ruined. (That’s why I never made it on the silver screen. “Soap Opera Cross Dresser Caught in Roxy Raincoat Raid!” That’s me.)
Interestingly enough gossip tabloids are nothing new. Way back in the 1840s, New Yorkers were barraged by weeklies of what’s today called ‘the Flash Press’. These penny dreadfuls, with titles like “The Weekly Rake,” “The Whip,” the “Libertine,” and “The Flash” pretended to take high moral ground but covertly by gossip and dubious line drawing pandered to salacious tastes.
Our gay ancestral carryings-on were frequently subject of ridicule, and persons were often mentioned by name or threatened. Sample. Letter to Editor. “The Rake.” July 31st, 1842. “To begin: at three different times has this rascal met me in the street and attempted to fool with me as if I were of the sex feminine. I intimated to him the propriety of visiting the Five Points [city jail]. He left me as a mob began to collect.”
And of a tavern crossdresser. “We demand of the performers who are associated with him, to refuse to act, and we ask all who visit that place to aid us in driving this monster of a hell-engendered Sodomite from the city.” Shades of Frankenstein!
For the record: Sister’s bust size is 36 D. (D as in dignity.)