A couple of days ago the world lost Dixie Carter. If you listened hard enough, you heard an audible sigh from the LGBT community. Actually, you didn't have to strain your ears too much, because the mourners were so many. Dixie Carter, you see, was a rare gem: as iconic to gay women as she was to gay men. Where gay men and lesbians often come to figurative blows over how the world should be, what qualities we should look for in our idols, and exactly how important man-made constructs are when it comes to gender, Dixie Carter was the great equalizer. An icon we all adopted and loved. And it's all thanks to Julia Sugarbaker.
The gay boys I know loved Dixie Carter/Julia Sugarbaker because she was bigger than life. Brash. Always well put together. A torch singer. Funny as hell. She was like - and I say this with love and respect - the best fucking drag queen you could ever hope to see. A lady, in the most traditional sense of that word.
We loved Dixie Carter/Julia Sugarbaker because she was a strong woman. Her own boss. Practical. Not afraid to speak her mind. A woman who valued sisterhood and the friendship of other women. Witty as hell. A lady in the most nontraditional sense of that word.
Dixie's Julia Sugarbaker took the word "lady" and turned it on its ear. She wasn't a lady just because she was trained in old school Southern gentility, but because she managed to never let go of that composure, even when she was reaming someone a new one. Many people would say that a "lady" knows her place. Julia Sugarbaker knew her place, alright - up front and center. And, if a "lady" knows when to keep quiet, the lady Dixie Carter brought to life knew when to speak the hell up. She was a living example that being a "lady" has bugger all to do with accessorizing, and EVERYTHING to do with finesse, decency, and standing up for what's right.
The butchest butches and the femmiest femmes loved you, Julia Sugarbaker, as did bears, twinks, and every flavor in between. Maybe in part because we live in a world that often wishes we would sit down and shut up - two things you never, ever did until you were damned good and ready.
We will miss you Dixie Carter: actress, singer, stroppy woman, friend of the gay community. And, yes, a Republican.