I saw the play “Hosanna”. It starts with a drag queen named Hosanna coming home from some sort of event. She has tears in her eyes. We are not immediately told what happened; the details slowly unfold as the play proceeds.
**Spoiler alert! If you plan to see this play some day don’t read further!**
What we finally learn is she was set up in a public humiliation. She spends weeks to create her ultimate fantasy costume (Cleopatra) only to be publicly humiliated and jeered. A group of vicious queens had purposely set up a sadistic situation. There were many themes and issues in this play. The one that struck me the most was the ‘humiliation’. I can’t imagine anything more psychologically painful.
We experience shame long before we learn how to feel guilt. Shame is one of the emotional instincts. We are born with it. The Tribe (family, friends, religion, community, etc.) is telling you intentionally and publicly you are not part of us – and jeering in the process. Ex-communication comes in many forms.
Some brave hearts are able to stand up to humiliation and tell the crowd to screw off; I don’t want to be ashamed and desire reentry. Yet, it is engrained in us to turn red to signal ‘I am ashamed. I acknowledge I have been cast off. I want to be returned to The Tribe”. Hosanna had the rejections of who he was (gay). then being from Quebec, and then sadistically humiliated again by those he thought were his friends. Hosanna says while crying, “I didn’t know how much they hate me.”
Everybody feels shame and rejection. I hear these painful stories all the time.
I think gay people must feel it worse, for there is usually some event in their life like this drag queen’s. We feel we are at our best, our selves on display – only to be completely rejected.