Gay community snaps Britney Spears' olive branch, questioning her intentions 

It is said, in the parlance of celebrity culture, that America loves nothing more than a downfall — except, that is, a comeback.

Britney Spears, by all accounts, has achieved the former, handily. Now the pop diva wants San Francisco and its gay community to be part of her resurgence, but not before The City’s drag-queen community has a little fun, well,
making fun of her.

Ever since Spears announced she would promote her new album, “Femme Fatale,” on “Good Morning America” by performing a miniconcert outside the Castro Theatre, the gay community has gone bonkers, arguing about whether she should be granted access to an exclusive non-gay list of gay icons.

Although rainy weather has now forced the show indoors to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Spears’ intention was clear: get gay people on board.

“There’s a tragedy to Britney Spears. It’s just attractive. There’s history in the falling of a pop star, whether it’s Britney or Judy Garland,” said Juanita More!, a longtime San Francisco drag queen and club promoter. “But I haven’t exactly heard Britney over the past five years talk about the gay community, not like Lady Gaga has.”

Instead of merely relying on an aging fan base that first encountered her high school girl image as teenagers in 1999, Spears has done her part lately to woo gay sensibilities without overtly offending middle America.

She appeared on the gay-friendly show “Glee” in September and in the March edition of Out magazine, in which she said she would support her sons if they turn out to be gay. In the same interview, she also said she only dates men.

Leaked snippets of Spears’ new album reveal no clear gay themes, unlike Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which has achieved anthem status in the LGBT community. Gaga is generally revered in drag clubs as a serious artist, while Spears seems more like fodder for sarcastic stage antics.

A “Britney Night” drag show last weekend at a South of Market nightclub had queens lampooning Spears juggling a mocha latte, a cigarette and a baby doll.

Local drag icon Heklina said she thinks Spears has a genuine fan base in The City, but the drag community sees her upcoming San Francisco performance as contrived.

“This whole Castro appearance, I think, was born in some marketing room somewhere,” Heklina said.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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Dan Schreiber

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Monday, Jul 25, 2016

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