In the 1970s, when queer people were openly despised and drag queens scared the public, Doris Fish (born Philip Mills in 1952 in Australia) rose to drag queen stardom. He was a leader of the generation that prepared the world not just for drag queens on TV but for a society that is more tolerant and accepting of LGBTQ+ people. How did we get from there to here?
I finished it persuaded this was a life well worth examining, if only because his peers are so often celebrated, or excoriated, in aggregate ... Seligman’s own stance is mostly one of wary wonderment, that drag queens have gone from 'totally beyond the pale' to mainstream acknowledgment ... He piles a lot of historical weight on Fish’s shoulders, but his subject carries it like Joan Crawford in a padded Adrian frock.
Interwoven throughout is the history of drag and Doris’s role in its acceptance into the mainstream. The frightening and tragic impact of AIDS in the late 1980s is explored ... This honest and compassionate depiction of someone who was true to their passions will inspire readers.
An illuminating history of drag performance through the life of drag queen Doris Fish ... Seligman weaves in enlightening histories of the AIDS pandemic, Anita Bryant’s Save Our Children campaign, and more, while making a strong case for drag shows as political theater that 'accomplish[ed] satire’s deepest dream: not just to rail against society, but to change it.'