For those who haven’t seen it, there’s a bit of mudslinging currently under way on the Star‘s website.

Now, the site’s seen some barneys over the years (crystal users vs ACON, gays vs queers, Darren Hayes fans vs the Star, etc.), but this is a particularly snippy one.

Said barney is in response to the Star‘s drag columnist Maxi Shield’s effort from last week, in which she had a go at a letter writer to another paper who had a go at drag queens.

Online it’s Maxi and her supporters vs those in the gay community who think drag queens are talentless misogynist windbags.

The gay community, said arguers argue, has moved away from the need for silly fake-femme performances and into an era of hyper-masculinity, and drag is an embarrassing reminder of when gay men were not seen as men, or something.

Nonsense, the Maxi supporters cry. Drag performers are talented and hard working. Not to mention all the stuff they do for charity.

Problem is, I can see both sides. I’ve seen some awful things pass for drag shows in my life. Performers who think it’s funny to shriek fish! at women. Performers who think racist jokes are okay because they’re coming from a drag queen. Performers who host trivia nights and then can’t read the questions.

But I’ve also seen some truly shiteous behaviour from the self-appointed guardians of masculinity, currently getting fired up about drag culture.

Men who aggressively push past women at mixed events. Doormen who deliberately keep lesbians out of gay bars. Men who call their female friends fag hags, and not realise that the term is degrading to both of them.

Anyway, to me it’s all drag. Being of the Police Academy generation, I can’t see a man in leather and not think of the Blue Oyster Bar. And if drag shows distract the audience for long enough to free up a space at the bar, then that’s a good thing for the rest of us.

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