The Trans Consumer


Long Beach Pride Review at the New Gay

This post was submitted by Jess Five

I made my first pilgrimage to Long Beach Pride this year.  I almost felt alienated by the entire event.  I don’t fit the standard gay or lesbian mold.  I am a genderqueer punk and there was no “genderqueer punk” stage.  However, there was a transgender stage which made the whole event worthwhile.  It was a breath of fresh air amongst the Stepford Gays.

I’ve been to Pride in San Francisco and Pride in New York City, but neither of those prepared me for the assimilating fest known as Long Beach Pride.  The main focus of most of the outreach booths was to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military rule, as well as fighting for our right for marital bliss.  I wanted some beads to look more festive, so I filled out a postcard to President Obama demanding equality and a survey about domestic partnership abuse.

After gathering some beads, I decided to find some food.  Being a vegan, it wasn’t such an easy task amongst the (pun intended) sausage fest.  From what I could see of the food available, my best bet was to get a bean and rice burrito.  I did and I devoured it.  I also got some “ribbon fries,” which were french fries cut to look like ribbons.  They were fantastic.

During lunch, I ended up sitting with random people.  Some of who were friendly and talkative.  One person gave me their guide so I could fulfill my next objective: locate “Transgender Land.”

It took a few minutes, but I finally found “Transgender Land” on the map, better known as Trans Awareness.  I finished up my fries and set out to find the space.

It didn’t take long to find the area; it was located right next to the Family Fun Zone.  However, if you weren’t looking for Transgender Awareness, you might miss it.

It was a couple of tables.  The boys from Original Plumbing [available at Skylight Books in Silverlake] were there and so were my buddies from Amp.  Apart from those two groups tabling, there was nothing else.  There was a huge section for assimilation land but the Transgender area was sadly lacking.  I was happy it was there though.  It was better than nothing but, with how little was, it might as well been nothing.   I would really like to more of a trans presence next year at Pride.

So, I hung out in Trans Land for a little bit, than I left Pride for a few hours because nothing was really going on during the day.  I returned later in the evening just in time for dinner.

When I returned to Pride, I discovered there were more food options.  There was even a Vegan Jamaican food hut.  I ended up getting falafel for dinner, which was really tasty.  After dinner, I wanted to find something to do and thus began my two hours of wandering looking for some place I belonged.

There was something for everyone, if you were into mainstream entertainment.  There was a place for ravers, a place for divas, a place for 90’s rockers, and even a place for Country dancing.  There was a wide assortment of entertainment but none of it held a speck of interest for me.  After walking around and checking out each place and feeling more and more alienated by mainstream gay culture, I found myself back at the Trans Awareness tents.  All the tabling was closed for the evening, but I remembered hearing something about there being a Trans stage.  So, I decided to try to find it, which I did.

The Trans stage was nothing like the other stages that were bumping and grinding. In contrast, it was very intimate, with maybe at most 20 people watching.  It felt like home in a sea of filth.  It was warm, inviting, accepting, and provided a place to chill.  The whole thing was put together in under three months.  The volunteers were collecting signatures of people who were there to try to get funding for next year.  It was around 8pm on Saturday when I found the Trans stage, and it wasn’t until security kicked us out that the party ended.  It was awesome.   Trans stage, you made my Pride.

I saw JFP and CNOTE perform.  They are a rapper and violinist duo.  I am not a big fan of hip hop, but they were pretty amazing. The CNOTE violinist solo was beautiful.  JFP rhymes were pretty fly.

I also saw Alex Davis perform an acoustic set.  His song “Frosty” resonated with me.  It was about having a crush on someone who isn’t too interested in you, but that maybe it works out for the best in the long run.

After Davis, the San Diego Kings plus Randy Shaft performed.  They were really good.  My experience with drag kings has been seeing someone in drag lip singing, but their performances were actually performances instead of the usual, “Look at me singing in drag.”  There was a hilarious number about being on a boat with the kings dressed in sailor garb.  It was the type of thing you had to be there to appreciate.  Randy Shaft heated up the stage with him trying to seduce a femme.  Then there was a rap number, with a dance party going off of stage.  What happened next was almost a blur.  The music was cut.  The party was over.  Security was kicking us out.

The next day, I headed over to Pride just in time for lunch.  I didn’t go to the parade out of protest, as I have issues with corporations pretending to be gay for the day for money.  Shortly after I entered the event, I ran into a couple of girls who were genderfucking with mustaches on.  They seemed awesome, being bold enough to show their Pride in an unorthodox matter.  We talked and quickly bonded.  They adopted me as one of their group since I was flying solo.  After a quick booze run being led by the straightedge vegan – I went to the vegan Jamaican food hut for lunch and had an awesome “Reggae Wrap.”  After which we wandered around Pride and people watched.  We went on a quest to locate their friends and before you knew it, it was time for me to jet.

My favorite part about Pride was the Trans stage.  Pride would have sadly been lacking without it.  Again, thank you Trans stage for existing, you made my Pride.

My biggest critique of Pride is that while there was a bunch to do, there was not a lot for alternative queers.  I mean, yeah, there was a leather expo, but what about the alternative queers not into leather?  Those anti-military service, anti-marriage, and anti-assimilation don’t really have a place at Pride.  However, the Trans area was a welcome freshness to the same old middle class agenda.

Personally, for next year, I would like to see more about homeless outreach and booths focusing on the underprivileged.  I personally think Universal Health care is more of a queer issue than marriage because if we all had health care we wouldn’t need marriage benefits.  Sometimes, I feel like the gay agenda is focusing on the branches instead of the root of the problems.

source.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: