Monday, July 28, 2008

Sister Fabulous Promises "A Night You Never Won't Forget'

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July 23, 2008, Late night, Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh

It's the same the world over. Drag queens -- front, center and unashamed.

Acting on a tip from my Cambodian contact, Chath, I took a late night walk down the Sisowath Quay -- the riverfront of Phnom Phenh. It wasn't long before I heard the cooing calls of Sister Fabulous, a diminutive, yet fierce, local transvestite. I was her next shot for commerce tonight and she went in for the kill.

Before long she got the drift that I was only in it for the talk and for a few bucks she'd give me a little time on the street. While she spoke of the typical dangers of freaks, married men, and the local police, Sister Fabulous' eyes darted between mine and the potential, passing prey. The story here is the same as in many cities -- life working the street is dangerous but has its rewards. Better than begging which she sees as pathetic. Sister Fabulous is a working girl and according to her the services are of the highest quality. 'A night you never won't forget,' she hisses emphatically.

Although not as statuesque, Sister Fabulous reminds me of Savanna Savonnier, the drag queen we met in Mississippi last April. Because of having to fly under the mainstream radar, they both have a sense of humor that is sharp and ruthless. And they both hold their heads up high, defy the odds, and step to a unique beat.

Although worlds apart they are neighbors. Perhaps unaware of one another but linked just the same.

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