By: Mikayla Denault
Imagine a young, fifteen-year-old girl racing down the inspiring streets of the most aweing, diverse cities of the world with the intent of seeing her first Broadway musical, Kinky Boots. To make it even more incredible, she was able to experience the performance with her two moms, Meg and Missy, immersing her into a full sense of pride and understanding of what it means to love everyone amidst backlash. As you open your eyes, I am almost certain all of you pictured a girl, jumping up and down like an eager puppy experiencing the best moment of her life, and you would be exactly right. During this winter season, I was able to watch this story about a growing friendship between Charlie, a straight, free-spirited young man unwillingly trying to save his dad’s shoe company, and Lola, a drag queen with a fierce sense of style. As they learn that their defiance to accepting their differences is what’s posing many obstacles, they use their talents of fashion and shoemaking to create sultry boots for Milan Fashion Week, helping save Price and Son’s as well as realize the similarities between both of them. To conclude the show, the cast ended with a finale song reiterating the main lessons of the show. While we continued our night in NYC, the essence of reflection and wonder the illuminating lights portrayed made me realize how the lessons are present in my life with two moms. As I take you on a journey unfolding the six lessons of Kinky Boots, you will have an opportunity to take a glimpse of my family’s perspective on life and love.
Pursue the Truth
As present in the play and in my life, I have come to conclude that the truth is what you make it, and no one can tell you the right answer to your own truth. In Kinky Boots, Lola’s father was adamant in trying to make Lola (aka Simon) as masculine as possible by making Lola become a boxer. Lola’s father was ignoring the truth that she had set for the world to accept. Similarly, to my life, I try to resemble and display the love of my two moms in order to solidify the truth of my family. Hiding the truth forces you to not be yourself and others to construct different truths that may weaken the LGBT society and your family. Although difficult at times, I make sure everyone knows our truth is that we are a LGBT family that goes through many obstacles in order to achieve love and happiness. Our truth shows the strength of our family and diminishes negative truths that try to hurt us like how Meg’s mother tried to make her own truth that attempted to change Meg’s “phase”. In order to keep pursuing the truth, we intend on spreading awareness through our actions of kindness and participation in activities that practice our belief in equality. As they all say, the truth will set you free, and it will do so by people accepting your happiness from your own truth leading you to success.
Learn Something New
Learning new opinions, ideas, and activities requires the openness of everyone in order for cooperation to occur. With the difficulty of accepting differences, success cannot happen. In Kinky Boots, Don, a narrow-minded worker at the shoe factory, and his hostility towards Lola exemplified how negativity caused conflict and destruction of the completion of goals. After constant impulsive bullying from Don, Lola and Don challenged each other to a boxing match where Lola let Don win. By accepting Don and Don’s realization of this occurrence, their differences were resolved as he apologized. Lola also made him promise that he would say something nice to another in order to learn how love reaches success. When Don learned that rude remarks help nothing, he found the positives in his life rather than focusing all his negatives on others. In my life, by learning about views of others, my family has had the opportunity to educate and express our opinions as well, overall strengthening the knowledge of all of us. Learning something new requires the binding of all opinions, and the way my family does so is by keeping up with currents events from unbiased, credible sources. By helping construct our own opinions, the world and the people that surround us are able to understand my family and the presence of inequalities we urge to abolish.
Accept Yourself and You’ll Accept Others Too
Accepting yourself teaches others to model after you and inspires yourself to engage in other’s happiness you help them form. In Kinky Boots, with the help of a goal that exercised Charlie and Lola’s shining attributes, they were able to gain confidence in themselves and be who they truly want to be. By creating the love-spreading shoes, Lola uncovered that she didn’t have to be the bulky boxer her father forced her to be. Charlies realized that continuing the love of his father’s company was worth more than chasing for love that involved too much give and no receive. While they accepted what brought them true happiness, my family accepts our uniqueness, and embraces it by giving it back to our community. Giving back in ways such as creating the sports programs in recreational facilities, fundraising, volunteering, and supporting education we are able to express our dedication that hopefully inspires others to do the same. My mothers have been fortunate enough to be able to engage with a plethora of people helping to achieve their goals of soccer and basketball teams in the community I grew up in. Their success inspired other parents to coach and volunteer, ultimately using the love of our family as a model on how to act. By supporting and merging our differences together, we have the ability to achieve greatness through diversity and numbers. Understanding that everyone’s life is on a different path containing various strengths and weaknesses, I am able to comprehend how optimism spreads equality by explaining to others my family, its similarities, and how it operates. Overall, accepting your happiness and ignoring the backlash from others will heighten your power over negativity, allowing love to flourish.
Let Love Shine
Love shines the brightest after greatness achieved by much hard work and struggles. Kinky Boots showed me that true friendship and love is not based on materialistic items, rather the support given to you during the darkest moments and despite differences. Throughout the formation of the boots for the fashion show, Charlie and Lola had to let love shine above all opposition to stop work disputes. At the climax of the production, pressure, not inputting other peoples’ ideas, and stress made Charlie say a rude remark to Lola about her feminism, almost ruining their whole fashion show. Eventually, it concluded by showing that love is forgiving, through the apologizes of Charlie and Lola’s presence at the show. In my family, my two moms and I try to let love shine through the giving of others, the celebration of diversity, and our involvement in fixing LGBT injustices. A perfect display of how my family celebrates diversity was my moms’ anniversary party, bringing together all our family and friends of all backgrounds and points in their life to celebrate Meg and Missy’s love through dance and delicious food. Other activities like pride marches and writing has really helped my LGBT family connect to many people fighting for the same cause and who are still finding their way. Living in a media-based age, social media has allowed my family, especially Meg and I, connect with similar families to ours and people who need support while dealing with negativity. We let love shine by sharing our experiences and their resolutions in hopes that people who are struggling in truly being themselves can take our advice, learn from our mistakes, and form the input into their own journey into finding happiness. Letting love shine through oppositions such as nervousness, pressure, and inequality, we can build strong foundations of hope and change that can inspire others.
Let Pride be Your Guide
When letting pride be our guide, we are not just having confidence in ourselves and actions, we are also using our love and talents to lift up other people as well. In Kinky Boots, this concept was present when Lola used her confidence in design to help save Charlie’s shoe factory. Helping her right back, Charlie opened her eyes to new opportunities that would not impose hiding her true self for the opinion of others. Pride in Kinky Boots was shown in a way that benefited everyone, allowing equality to occur. The boots were also a symbol of the pride that the world had the opportunity to see in their hard work and creation of the shoe line. I noticed that when pride was limited in the production, reflections on past struggles reoccurred, and when pride occurred, events like Lola singing and dancing with her favorite heels on were occurring. In my life with two moms, these two extremes are present in my life as well. While facing opposition, governmental policies that arose such as forbidding transgender people in the military scared our family knowing what laws almost or may have the power of getting passed, heightening LGBT injustices. This reflected our past as Maryland didn’t allow same-sex couples to get married until 2013. However, I do believe that pride in equality is becoming stronger as women are forming an alliance, and people are forced to take action against the unlawful leader of this nation. My family’s pride is present in our openness, and the love we express openly to one another. Simple actions like giving a peck on the cheek to never forgetting to say, “I love you,” pride becomes a reminder that through confidence and support, you can be unstoppable.
Change the World When You Change Your Mind
By changing your perspective, your influence can affect so many opinions like a chain reaction. In Kinky Boots, division ended in the workplace when equality occurred. Characters like Don realized that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. By literally “walking in someone else’s shoes”, Don wore the boots in the fashion show with all his coworkers as they realized gossiping gets you nowhere in life. In my life, by spreading awareness about my unique family and how we are no different than other, people then have knowledge to base their opinions off of, not just secondary sources. Ending conflict is the result of this change of perspective, as fact provides a structured answer that doesn’t have hidden information or conflicting ideas. My family makes sure I am always informed on what’s happening in my community, and we have discussions based off of different opinions. Clubs I joined like the Young Democrats Club and United as One (Gay/Straight alliance) use public displays and discussions to change perspectives and build on people’s openness. Similar to Kinky Boots, my moms and I still face opposition at times from direct rudeness like someone not letting a child play with me because I have two moms to indirectly assuming that one of my mothers is my aunt or to that extent. The best way to change the perspective of people in these instances is to not respond with malice, rather with the kindness and love that is present in our family and will change the world with its greatness.
From Kinky Boots to my life with two moms, love is present in various ways, found in diverse circumstances, and can all be lost by one destructive action or word. Rather than changing yourself, showing your true self and changing other people’s perspectives will make you the happiest. Going forward, I will use this experience of immersing myself into this production by opening my mind to new opinions and supporting others when they find it difficult to be themselves. As the fashion show at the end of the production was more than a shoe show, it was a symbol of the power of diversity, confidence, love, and friendships that even the most opposite of lifestyles can reach. Because in reality, we are all humans on a journey together finding true happiness and success. As my two moms teach me to be who I am no matter what and be proud amidst opposition, Kinky Boots said as well, “You’ll see. It’s beautiful. Just be. “