cassie_sparkleHello world, and Happy Holidays. I hope you are all enjoying this festive time of year. My December got off to a wonderful start. A few years ago I was put in charge of a fundraiser for Sam Houston Elementary. They have a Secret Santa program that we donate to. Imagine, a Monday night drag show to raise money for the children to have a great Christmas.

We call it Cassie’s Freakmas show and my friend Chad and myself spend weeks before asking local businesses for donations to be raffled off at our show. And boy did our community come through! We had gift cards from just about every restaurant in the area, gift baskets and all kinds of cool stuff for our raffle. We auctioned off Stars tickets, a Jeremy Michael Calhoun bow tie, a GoBone — seriously, so many cool prizes. Hell, we even had a gallon of Spunk lube that came with a dispenser. I’m sure the bottom that won that will stay well-lubed all year.

I posted on Facebook and advertised at the shows that I wanted everyone to wear a onesie; I was thoroughly surprised at how many people came out sporting the coolest in sleepwear. I was a yeti, we had a few green Grinches, Minions, snowmen, Eeyore, polar bears and even the bunny costume from A Christmas Story. It was awesome. (The crew at JR.’s even dressed in onesies and looked adorable. They will give me shit forever for making them dress up but I think secretly they loved it, too.) It meant a lot to me that not only did so many people come out to support our cause and help out one of the poorest schools in the district, but that they came out decked out and full of the holiday spirit.

We were already on track to raise more than we did last year but then I was presented with a check for $5,000 from the fabulous Mark Cuban. I love that man. We raised a total of $7,265 — not too shabby for a Monday night. Speaking of, thank you to every one of the 17 queens that came out and performed for free out of the kindness in their hearts. I love you.

This week, I talked to my cousin who is a small-town Texas sheriff. We have been close most of his life (I think I am six or seven years older). He called to talk about his 15-year-old stepson. His wife told me a few years ago that they think their son is gay. She asked, if it turns out he’s gay, what should we do? How should we handle it? I told them to just let him know that he is loved and that y’all will be there for him. Let him know that his home is his home and just because he’s gay that will not change, neither will your love for him.

He called to say that their son came out to them that night. He did exactly like I said and told the boy he was loved and being gay doesn’t change anything. But he also told the kid about how hard things got for me when my family found out I was gay, and that coming out in high school will not be easy, especially in Texas. As he was telling me this, I choked up.

He asked if I had any advice to pass on. I told them to tell him to be careful — just because you see a lot of gay acceptance on TV does not mean you will get the same treatment in your town. I don’t want to tell him to hide who is, but maybe tone down the “gay” for safety reasons. I also said to have the “sex talk” with him. He might not be able to get pregnant, but STIs and HIV are still something he should worry about. If he’s having sex, tell him it needs to be safe sex. Making sure he has access to condoms doesn’t mean you approve of him having sex but it does let him protect himself if it does happen.

It truly is a different world we live in. I can’t imagine coming out to an accepting family at 15. I reminded my cousin that his parents were the first people in our family to make me feel loved after my big “outing.” He learned to accept people from his mom and dad and now applies it to his life. I am very proud of him. I’m on a roll, let’s help someone else.

Dear Cassie, I am a gay man that came out a little later in life. I was married with a wife and kids but always knew I was gay. Once my kids were grown and out of the house, I filed for a divorce. I wanted to divorce my wife years before, not just because I was gay but because she is just awful. A complete bitch.

It took a lot for me to come to terms with who I am and accept and love myself enough to leave her. Our divorce was brutal and once she found out I had come out, her dislike for me turned to venomous hate. My son and I always had a great relationship until recently. Last week he sent me an email stating that for him to be healthy, he could no longer be part of my life. I am heartbroken and don’t know what to do. I know this is his mother’s doing. Do you have any advice on how I should handle this? Thank you, J.J.

Dear J.J., First off I want to say congratulations on living your truth and finding the strength to come out. I feel I was very lucky not to have had to struggle or question my sexuality such that I ended up married to a woman so I can’t imagine your inner struggle. I know you had to make a lot of tough decisions.

Divorce is never easy, even on grown kids. When my parents divorced, even though I was very young, I felt like I was stuck in the middle, both sides wanting me to side with them. It’s awful. It sounds like it can be just as rough for an adult.

My advice where your son is concerned is to do like Michelle Obama says: “When they go low, we go high.” Email your son back and say, “I am sorry you feel that way, I love you and I will be here when you need me.” Your son will come around in time. He probably feels his mom needs him right now more that you do. A mother’s guilt can be relentless.

My advice where your wife is concerned, is to do like Cassie Nova says: “Give that bitch a flaming bag of dog poo for Christmas!” Seriously, there sounds like there is plenty of hurt to go around. Stay strong and give it some time. Hopefully your son will realize you need each other regardless of his mother. Good luck, Cassie.

I hope you all have a wonderful and holiday. Remember to love more, bitch less and be fabulous! Merry Christmas! XOXO! Cassie Nova.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2016.