I’m Gay. I’m a Little Extra. I Am So Lucky for It.

After all, ‘more is more’

Danni Michaeli, MD
Prism & Pen
4 min readJul 30, 2023

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protest signs with an image of Donald Trump in drag: Less Guns More Glitter
Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

While putting my kid to bed the other night, he was talking about some “weapons” he’d been working on for the Percy Jackson-themed role playing camp he goes to. He’s really gone overboard with the crazy stuff he’s been creating all summer, using every piece of foam and tape he can find around the house for ever-larger and more preposterous swords, shields and spears—anything he can think up. He was going on and on explaining the whole thing to me, and I suggested he might be overdoing it. With a wry smile, he looked up at me and said, “More is more!” and reminded me that everything in our home is kind of like that.

‘More is More’

“More is more” is one of my mottos, something I learned from a drag queen a few decades back as she was figuring out how to incorporate a doll into her already elaborate outfit. It’s the kind of saying that just works all the time, and all my friends love to quote me now when we’re in the middle of a chaotic activity, an excessive meal or an overwhelming task.

I’m the kind of person who’s always pushing the boundaries of possibility. Just a little bit, but a little bit more than what’s comfortable, sensible or doable for me and the people around me. It’s one of the many ways I’m a little extra, the way I inspire a downward shaking of the head by my neighbors and an upward eyeroll by my friends. It’s the thing that people love about me and the thing that people hate about me.

I Learned Not to Worry What Other People Think

I’m the youngest by far of four kids. In my 1970’s childhood, I grew up in a secular Jewish family, but lived in an ultra Orthodox community and went to a nearby religious school. Our house was on a corner across from the neighborhood playground, which meant that every Saturday afternoon, all the neighborhood kids would come by with their families in their black hats, white shirts, wigs and dresses, while my hippy older siblings were hanging out with their friends in the front yard in their corduroy cutoff shorts playing guitar, cleaning their cars and generally making a spectacle of themselves. It was tough for me.

I remember one Saturday, my father, who himself didn’t particularly approve of my siblings’ way of life, wanted to go for a walk in the park across the street. I don’t recall exactly what he was wearing, but it certainly wasn’t his best sabbath outfit. Having already showered for the day, he was sort of wearing his pajamas. I was really embarrassed to be seen with him outside, and he could tell. He had no sympathy for this, and told me I needed to get over worrying what other people thought of me. It was a useful lesson delivered in an unpleasant package, as many life lessons are.

I’ve struggled with this in my life, though with each passing decade it gets easier. I’ve come to accept that I’m a little extra—and anyway, haters gonna hate.

I Can Be a Little Extra

In my few quiet moments of personal reflection, I can appreciate my great good fortune at being gay. Granted, the process of coming out is shitty, it’s uncomfortable and it goes on and on. In today’s world especially, you don’t know when someone is going to react angrily. I’m shocked that deep into the 21st century in the NY metro area, I still have abusive things shouted at me by cars speeding by. Are my cutoff shorts too short? Clearly they inspire vitriol.

“We are the keepers of a certain kind of Extra…we live by the glitter foam sword of the ancient warrior god Ru-Paul.”

But being a member of the queer club, I can be a little extra, because I belong to a community that brings it and fights for it. We are the keepers of a certain kind of Extra, which is very cool. I don’t know if I could have fully embraced or enjoyed my Extraness without the added advantage of my queerness, and I think my life would have been less colorful for that.

My son is right, of course. More is more, and in our household, like it or not, we live by the glitter foam sword of the ancient warrior god Ru-Paul. I’m hardly the most flamboyant, but I bask in the appreciation that I’m part of a community that embraces the outrageous. That little extra helps me be a little Extra, and because of it, I can’t stop myself from entertaining new ridiculous possibilities and putting them out there. I am so lucky for it.

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Danni Michaeli, MD
Prism & Pen

A psychiatrist and a dreamer, I'm always listening for the magic and wondering what we're all doing here.....