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HOMO HISTORY 101
Conchita Wurst is an Austrian pop
recording artist and drag queen portrayed by
Tom Neuwirth (born 6 November 1988). Wurst
came to international attention for winning the
Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 as Austria's
entrant with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix."
Openly gay, Neuwirth uses masculine
pronouns when referring to himself but feminine
pronouns to describe Wurst. Neuwirth has stated
that he does not identify as transgender, but as
a man. His sexual orientation is homosexual
and he also described himself as a drag queen.
In an interview he also explained that Conchita
is Spanish slang for vagina and Wurst is German
slang for penis. Neuwirth asserted that the
inclusion of the beard as part of the drag queen
character was "a statement to say that you can
achieve anything, no matter who you are or how
you look." The inclusion of a beard as part of the
drag look was not unique, having been pioneered
in the 1970s by The Cockettes in San Francisco
and the Bloolips in London.
The Cockettes were a psychedelic
theater troupe founded by Hibiscus (George
Harris) in the fall of 1969. The troupe was
formed out of a group of hippies, men and
women, that were living together communally
in Haight-Ashbury. Hibiscus came to live with
them because of their preference to dressing
outrageously and proposed the idea of putting
their lifestyle on the stage performing all original
songs in elaborate genderfuck costumes. They
gained an underground cult following that led
to mainstream exposure. In 1971, The Cockettes
released the short film Tricia's Wedding,
lampooning the wedding ceremony of Richard
Nixon's daughter, Tricia Nixon; Nixon's chief
of staff H. R. Haldeman arranged a secret
screening of the film for White House staffers.
The Cockettes were the subject of a 2002
documentary, The Cockettes.
Bette Bourne (born Peter Bourne 22
September 1939) is a British actor, drag queen
and activist. He became involved with the Gay
Liberation Front in the early 70s and was inspired
by the strength of one man at a GLF meeting
who was wearing a denim skirt. 'When I put the
frock on it gave me a feeling of power.' He opted
out of his successful, conventional acting career
to join a radical drag commune in Notting Hill.
'People wouldn't talk to me, actors I knew would
cross the street to avoid me.' After a period 'in
the wilderness' he 'elbowed his way into' New
York based, gay and lesbian theatre company,
Hot Peaches, which led him to start his own gay
theatre group BLOOLIPS the next year.
Miss Coco Peru is the drag persona
of American actor, comedian and drag performer
Clinton Leupp, known for her role in the 1999
independent film "Trick" and for her series of
live theater performances. Recognizable by her
"trademark copper-toned flip hairdo," She has
appeared in a number of supporting and guest-
starring roles in film and television. For 20 years
Peru has starred in various "one-woman shows"
across the U.S. and other countries, and hosted
LGBT events. Since 2005 Peru has appeared in
the "Conversations with Coco" series in which
she "interviews and celebrates the lives and
careers of the LGBT community's favorite icons."
Peru's guests have included Bea Arthur, Lily
Tomlin and Jane Fonda.
Two-Spirit People is a term used by
some indigenous North Americans to describe
or label gender-variant individuals in their
communities. Historically, non-Native Americans
anthropologists used the term berdache to
identify an individual fulfilling one of many
mixed gender roles in Native American tribes
but that term has now fallen out of favor. Third
and fourth gender roles traditionally embodied
by two-spirit people include performing work
and wearing clothing associated with both men
and women. Not all tribes have rigid gender
roles, but, among those that do, some consider
there to be at least four genders: masculine man,
feminine man, masculine woman, feminine
woman. The presence of male-bodied two-spirits
was a fundamental institution among most tribal
peoples and , both male- and female-bodied two-
spirits have been documented in over 130 North
America tribes, in every region of the continent.
If you want to learn more about your gay heritage and those who paved the way, through activism,
sacrifice, courage and civil disobedience to give us a better and freer life you can visit The Stonewall
Museum & Archives in Wilton Manors. We should all know who our gay heroes are and be thankful for
what they did on our behalf.
History was never as straight as we are told.
Recording our history means reporting the truth.
The Cockettes were a psychadelic
theater troupe founded in 1969,
performing all original songs on
stage while dressed in elaborate
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