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To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)

NOXEEMA as portrayed by Wesley Snipes and CHI-CHI as portrayed by John Leguizamo in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995).

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Okay so things are picking up - 1995 gave us TWO FILMS with Black gay characters! In Too Wong Foo, we see Wesley Snipes, one of America's action heroes and sex symbols don some hair and paint to make him what he ain't. I didn't love this film when it first came out, and it certainly did not age well. The biggest issue is the question of "are they drag queens or are they transgender?" Throughout the film, the three leads rarely take off their drag and the plot of the film rests on them successfully "passing" as ciswomen. In this clip, Noxeema attempts to break down the differences between transexual, transvetite and drag queen and gets in a joke at Chi-Chi's expense. But the film doesn't really honor its own definitions. I wonder if they needed to keep them in drag in so we could get a "love story" via the illusion of a man and woman. Yet again we see that folks can be gay, but can't do gay things. All the romance and intimacy here happens under the guise of "boy meets girl". Also, I wonder how this ties into so many straight folks' fear of being "duped" by transwomen? 🙄🙄🙄 So yeah, this movie came out. I guess it moved the needle for the acceptance of drag culture as high camp comedy. RuPaul even has a cameo wearing a confederate flag gown as "Rachel Tensions". I'm just not sure I'm any better for it's existence.

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