Born This Way

We went to see Lady Gaga at Fenway Park last night, a spur-of-the-moment decision back in February. Y’all, Gaga is a powerhouse performer, all strange angles and motion and a huge non-stop voice, every song stunningly produced to keep thirty thousand people joyfully on their feet for hours. There’s a lot of drag in her costume and a lot of vogue in her dancing and a lot of personas, and she constantly seems a bit alienated from herself. I don’t mean that as a critique. She has no banter and no jokes and most of her lines between songs are actually song lyrics. And yet even as I reflected on how odd the transitions sounded, we were all up and dancing. She moved us, literally, all thirty-odd thousand of us.

And how can I express the deafening roar when she asked the crowd “How many of you are part of the LGBTQ community?” How many people screamed, not part of the crowd but shrieking their own selves personally to her, when we heard the opening chords of Born This Way?

There was a moment, towards the end of the show, where I felt and regretted a kind of superficiality of her message, a kind of “ey, love is love, we’re good” approach. And then the show finished, and I waited outside the women’s room for Violet, watching:

a lot of 65-year-old Italian women with their daughters lining up with:
punk young East Asian women in heels and:
a couple persons in drag and:
women in summer dresses whose faces strongly coded male and:
glitter spread liberally across every demographic,

all moving through the women’s bathroom at Fenway Park together, effortlessly, unconcerned, in perfect community.

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