Sunday, 26 July 2015

Loosing Track of Normal, the growing queer umbrella

I am admiring the two-coloured lipstick on a young friend.  She is wearing a fetching combination of blue, blue overlapped with pink and then pink on her lips.  I was initially surprised to learn that it was an interpretation of the bisexuality flag but then I felt silly as I look up around me at the crowd dispersed along the walking paths and greenery of Quidi Vidi Lake.  I notice the smallest woman Mountie (RCMP) I have ever seen, a drag queen walking a German shepherd dog, and several members of my local dance society covered in sparkles.  Oh yes, and I see some of my fellow board members from an artist-run-centre. This is in effect the after-party for the PRIDE parade.

You could say these are "my people" as I am a culture-worker and family, friends and colleagues dot the crowd.  Through out the week I have stopped in at events:  Youth Day– characterized by clay crafting, Mario Cart video gaming and bowling, Queer Uncensored – where I am struck by the practice of listing trigger warnings before recitations– for things like sexual abuse. I inquired after others.  I hear rave reviews of the diverse voices at the Coming Out in Faith panel at the Rocket Room downtown, the beach bonfire and the Trans Parade.  You know I am going to be treated to at least one choral rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow before the week is out.
For the first time the Trans Parade was a separate event from
the Pride Parade.

On CBC radio one morning I listened to an activist patiently decoding the expanding alphabet soup that started out as LGBTQ.  Two-spirited has joined the acronym as 2S, reflecting the aboriginal tradition of an individual who possesses both masculine and feminine attributes in a variety of ways be they spiritual, gender based or sexual.  They don't tackle the permutations of relationships, such as polyamorous, nor is their talk of asexuality. 

While it didn't make the media, I noticed that the Trans parade's conclusion was rerouted away from the Harbourside Park to the Humus Hut because the park was declared unsafe.  The revised destination was intended to ward off a potential conflict.  Apparently, a large group of vocal gospel singers had turned up to challenge the transgender march, which was a deliberately unsanctioned event during Pride Week.  Many in the trans community feel eclipsed by the gay community, its issues and increasing acceptance by society.  Safety, medical treatment, and the need for legislative changes are among some of the issues facing the trans community.  If mainstream straight society thought same sex marriage was going to silence the culture of difference that is blossoming…they are in for a surprise.  The "queer" umbrella keeps getting broader and it ain't going away.
Strictly speaking, this is a lesbian lipstick flag.

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