Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pridefest in a Nutshell

I went to Pridefest and had a reasonably good time.  I say "reasonably good" because there were improvements on other years, but there were also some things that either haven't changed or have gotten worse.  There were a couple events that are going to warrant their own really nasty essay later, but I am having a hard time writing it because I'm flustered.

This event gets a more diverse following every year, with all ages from infants to elders, people of varying abilities, body types, religious beliefs, subcultures, political beliefs, genders, and sexual orientations.  Honestly, Pridefest is probably the most diverse event I regularly attend.  That might sound strange if you're used to thinking about Pride as a big pile of corporate sleaze (which it admittedly is), but for some context the second most diverse event I've regularly attended is MBLGTACC, which has very little age diversity.  Whatever the case, I enjoy this aspect of Pride.  The fact that I can see families with small children, people in nun drag, college students, high school students, leathermen, bears, flamboyantly dressed gays, butch lesbians, furries, trans people, Log Cabin Republicans, elderly people, people with varying abilities, people from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, and so on in one place is really awesome to me.

Yet again the programming at Pride was not actually inclusive of how diverse their attendees are.  There were significantly more diverse vendors, by which I mean there was actual transgender-related merchandise including books and videos (on a somewhat related note there were more bi- and pansexual pieces, too).  The transgender programming was the same as last year, with a few drag shows, a tutorial put on by the Miltown Kings that was attended by drag kings as well as trans men, something or another about gender variant youth, and at the organization fair (I don't know what it's actually called) there were multiple transgender-related groups in attendance.  They have a history project every year from the Wisconsin LGBT History Project that is ridiculously gaywashed.  The funny thing is they were totally corrected on this point last year, but they didn't change it for this year.  They actually took down the only transgender bio in the exhibit.  I mean, really?

On the bright side, there were lots of people I knew there this year, and met some new people.  Part of this was because I had budgeted on some interesting pieces to wear for Pagan Spirit Gathering, and as I'm a furry I decided to get ears and a tail that I subsequently wore.  This was really cool because let's be honest, there aren't that many places wearing something like this is socially acceptable:

Which is actually the subject of another essay I plan on writing soon but which I haven't been able to muster up the motivation to write yet.  Meh.  In the future.