Arts & Entertainment

The Strange Minstrelsy of Dylan Mulvaney

How a theater queen in search of fame jumped on the trans bandwagon and won.

Apr 21, 2023

I’ve largely ignored the entire Bud Light tempest in a toxic teacup because social media outrages and brand boycotts come and go and tend to leave little trace behind. But the fuss over the beer brand’s brief commercial dalliance with trans newbie Dylan Mulvaney — with her 10.8 million TikTok followers — nonetheless fascinates. It shows, it seems to me, just how much everyone is projecting, and how (almost) everyone is getting it wrong.

There are, it seems, many layers to Dylan. To countless straight people, left and right, Dylan is a transgender star — because she is biologically male, and yet has been saying she is a girl now for more than a year, wears women’s clothes and is pretty and charming and full of manic energy. (I’m mostly using her preferred pronouns here, the least clumsy option). The woke left therefore loves her, and the Matt Walsh right has had a collective aneurysm. But for many gay men, including yours truly, Dylan’s latest, year-long performance as a “girl” looks and sounds like something much more familiar.

Dylan, to us at least, is a pretty classic, child-actor, musical theater queen — an effeminate gay man who finds great joy and relief in Broadway camp and drama, and is liable to burst into song at any moment. (I used to wonder if this very specific manifestation would die out as gays integrated more. But no! It seems to be in our collective DNA. Every generation mints a new variety.) And she’s managed to bait both the woke left and the anti-woke right into making her very famous and a lot richer than a year ago.


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