Sunday, June 14, 2009

We're here, we're queer, and...we ARE going shopping

Yesterday we went along to Qld Pride. The march was a lot of fun, and going in on the train was a hoot - the whole carriage was filled with a range of queer folk: we staid suburban lesbians with our twin pram, a gorgeous gaggle of fifteen year old boys with Duran Duran hairdos and self-consciously camp mannerisms, a brace of old leathermen and some young dykes with trim short hair and low slung jeans not held up by their low slung belts. We met up with a bunch of friends and formed a pram posse, somehow ending up marching between some spunky FTM trannies (I loved their banner: "LGBT - the T is not silent"!) and the aforementioned leathermen.

The Brisbane rally is absolutely nothing like the Mardi Gras parade. It's a political rally, not a celebratory parade. We marched through the streets; those so inclined were chanting, I'm not sure what; some were blowing whistles. Lots of cars gave us cheery honks. In depressingly true Queensland style, not a single word of it was mentioned in the print media, although L gave a radio interview to a local commercial radio station and I was interviewed for a documentary some enthusiastic young things were making about workplace discrimination (my quote: have never experienced it, but am concerned that L won't be able to get parental leave if she needs it, as she's not legally recognised as a parent).

After the feelgood high of the rally, the fair day was something of fizzer for me. It was, umm, one dimensional - a one dimensional representation of the queer community. And what was represented was the partying, market-to-the-high-disposable-income, heavy drinking scene. A bunch of stalls handing out pamphlets, multiple tents selling alcohol, and a stage pumping out music that was too loud. I think I would like something more participatory: a couple of alternative stages; a healing or health space where you could get massages, and fruit juice, and tarot readings; maybe another space where you could do demonstration things, like bootscooting or muu thai or whatever is the latest queer fad; and a KID SPACE.

Like everyone else in the Brisbane queer community, instead of just criticising, I should get involved and do something about it, or else shut up.

It was nice to bump into people. That's really the point of those events, isn't it? Gathering everyone? It's just, you know, it seems a bit sad that we're all gathered there and all we can do is drink and listen to loud music. There's more to being glbT (not silent) than drinking and partying and s*x, but it's all I see reflected in the gayboy media, and L0TL's (Aus lesbian mag) not much better.


Kelly & Sam Pilgrim-Byrne said...

Yet again I find myself nodding my head in agreement...

E, SS and the Little Man said...

I agree you should organize a kids' booth for next year. We volunteered time at the kids' booth at our Pride festival last year, and it was fun to see all the parents. They appreciated the booth so much.

StephLove said...

We missed Pride this year. It was supposed to rain (but didn't) and June had been sick the night before and we weren't sure if she was recovered.

It's not like we go every year, but I'm still a little sad we missed it. Oh well, there's always next year.

I like the parade more than the festival. Beth used to work for a gay organization and had to work booths so often it doesn't even seem like fun anymore.

Suze said...

Sydney Fair Day has had a big kids space for the past 6-7 years - jumping castle, native animals, all that sort of thing. It's where we head first and base ourselves when we go to Fair Day.
And of course Rainbow Babies has an entry in the parade and it's fascinating that as the kids get older, it means more and more to them - sometimes we feel we can't be bothered going in the Mardi Gras but offspring always wants to!

Mikhela said...

Yes Suze, I've noticed (enviously) that the Sydney and Melbourne events seem much more inclusive of a range of people, including parents & kids. I'm thinking about getting more involved for next year - it would take a lot of energy (given I'd be starting from scratch), so is it the best use of my time?