Leslie Allen Jordan died yesterday. He was my Fairy Godfather. I was one of his fellow hunker-downers and I found joy and even perspective from his social media presence. I made him part of my posse.
If you want to know him, watch this interview on Ellen.
I discovered him during the pandemic, and if you haven’t seen his Instagram account, take a look at it. He was kind, generous, funny, smart, self-effacing - a man who understood the nuance and fear of the times in which we live, and he gave us perspective by focusing on things like the pans in his kitchen, or how cute he looked, or stories from his childhood which were filled with tragic humor. A tiny man, a boy from Tennessee who was gay out of the gate, (“I came out of my mama’s womb and fell into her high heels”) wanting to dress like a girl for Halloween and having a mother who was behind him from day one. And the story he told about his father - a military colonel to give you some context - coming to grips with his femininity and finally embracing it, would make your heart surge with the love he shared with everyone who would accept it.
I want to mention that I also believe Leslie suffered. He worked at being happy. It was a choice. I think he had great sadness and loneliness. But he chose to live it quietly. Privately. Maybe he was someone who just never quite got things right, or never found someone who could help him be his best self in a partnership. The last two years he enjoyed true celebrity status that I think he loved, or he acted as if he did, which is not necessarily the same thing. I hope he did have joy and knew how much he meant to so many. Me among them.
I will not forget you, Leslie Allen Jordan, and I will try and mirror your positive, no nonsense, suck-it-up attitude that was your trademark. Thank you for your leadership over these past few years. You led quite a posse.
Some of my favorite Leslie Jordan quotes…
I grew up in the Baptist church and, honey, they baptized me about 14 times. It never did take.
I honor the sanctity of all religions - I'm not here to put them down. But the only religion that I personally embrace is the religion of kindness.
You know, you learned that very young in American culture that the feminine boys don't do well. And yet, I had a dad who was a lieutenant colonel in the army. My dad was a man's man, but he still adored me. And somehow in the midst of that, I still grew up hating the sissy in me.
I talk about things that happened in my life. Now, do I embellish? Absolutely. Come on, we all do it. It makes for a better story. But it always comes from a germ of truth.
I'd do an exercise video because there are so many gay men with these perfect abs and they do exercise videos. So I did an exercise video where my stomach looked like my water's about to break.
My mother and grandmother created this secret garden where it was OK for boys to play with dolls, and it was OK for little boys to sew potholders.
You almost had to have grown up in the church like I did to realize how dark that is, how dark it is to be a kid and be told that God hates you or that there's something wrong with you.
There isn't a lot I can do on this planet, but I can be funny.