Hello, Gentle Reader. You’re back! I have to say how surprised and gratified by how much traffic my humble offering of yesterday received. Here I was, blearily musing to the void, and far more people than ever expected seem to have been touched by my barely-coherent plea. Thank you; I hope that I can continue to please, and to inspire.
As it happens, I’m working on a tour of America, in honor of the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, in the summer of 2014. I want to take a bus full of people of all genders, sexualities, etc., and bring Pride to small, sleepy towns – the most homophobic, repressed places that I can find, in aid of helping locals, so that they know that they’re not alone, and to help change the attitudes of bigots everywhere. It’s a work in progress; expect me to mention it periodically. UPDATE: While I really do love this project, Europe may be is getting in the way.
I’d like to talk today about the Genderfuck Pub-crawl that I put together a few years ago, that was a bit more of a flop than anticipated. Essentially, I’d just come across the concept of genderfuck, and was thrilled. It’s a sort of aggressive blending of outward gender displays.
In light of that, I grew out the most robust beard that I could muster, and went dress shopping with a few, straight, cis, friends.
Though I had spread the word as best I could, I only had three companions for this venture. I was a little disappointed – sometimes, the fires of injustice burn so brightly in my chest, and though my sphere is small, I want to shock the world into being a decent place to live. My companions – whose gender, identity, and sexuality are irrelevant – and I prepared ourselves; Cocktail dresses, flannel, military caps, glittered six-inch-heels, six-month beards, bow ties, and a drag queen army’s worth of make-up. Thus attired, we began.
In Tacoma, while there are bars and pubs scattered all over town, Sixth Avenue is rife with them, all in one place. While we intended to end at the Mix -which, as should be clear by now- is a gay bar, we were primarily aiming for straight bars and clubs. Frankly, I was looking for a fight.
The first bar we went to, there were a few awkward glances, but no immediate reaction. As we sat at the bar, however, the bartender – who was not busy, I must add – refused to make eye contact, or take our order. When the two of us with beards took ourselves out front, for a quick cigarette, though, the two (born female, though not presenting as such at this time) were able to get get service.
While outside, we also nearly caused an accident. Apparently our appearance was a trifle distracting, for the teenaged driver. Regaining control of his car, he pulled over, and shouted out his passenger window, “Why the fuck are you dressed like that?” My companion shouted back, “Why the fuck not?”
Tired of not getting service, we set off for the next bar. This one is an “Irish Pub,” in that it’s actually a sports bar that serves Shepherd’s Pie. It’s mainly populated by sixty-something day-drinkers and recent ex-frat-boys, and I expected a more exciting reaction. However, there was not even one double-take. We were served, the staff were polite, and we remained unmolested by the patrons. On we went.
At our next establishment – a college bar, popular with the locals – it was more of the same: a complete non-starter. Zip. Though there were a few more planned spots that we wanted to hit, at this point, we decided to pack it in, and just head to the Mix, in disappointment. Here, we got a reaction: We were welcomed with open arms; embraced as part of the diverse community and family.
While we were thwarted in our aims of changing the world that day, I like to think that perhaps we opened some eyes. Sometimes, that’s all we can do; sometimes visibility is the action that’s required. Sometimes, you need to be who you are harder than ever, in order to live.