June 10, 2013

Pride and Not Pride

This weekend, my Facebook feed was filled with photos from Pride parades and festivals. My camp family is geographically dispersed, so I have my finger on the pulse on the queer community of a lot of cities. It was kind of fun to live vicariously through Boston, Los Angeles, Albany, and other places.

Once upon a time, Hartford had a Pride fest, occasionally een a Pride parade. I've participated in both. But no more. The fest itself has fallen on hard times lately; not even sure when the last time there was one. And to be honest, when it was still happening, my ties to the local queer community are so slight and tentative that I either chose not to go, or I'd go, wander around for a few hours without really finding too many folks I knew, and I'd quietly slip away.

It's part of a bigger pictures. Hartford's "community center" shut its door years ago, so there's no central space for meetings, events, information. And (in my experience) the spaces and groups out there tend to be kind of insular - without a lot of formal cross-over.

I did spend a number of nights this past week at the Out Film Fest. It's not the same - skewed older, whiter, and wealthier - a thin slice of queer community - but at this point, we take what we can. It was good to run into a lot of folks I knew "back in the day". It was a good year for the fest; with good films, good turnouts (to my eye), and successful use of alternative theater spaces (Real Art Ways, Spotlight Theaters, and CT Science Center). I probably should have bought a festival pass but hopefully my fuull price tickets will help support the fest.

One of the festival films - Raid at the Rainbow Lounge - about a police raid on a gay bar in Ft. Worth, TX and the resultant community coming together - brought our local lack of community into focus.

Perhaps its a natural part of the assimilation process. I have a dozen queerish friends in the yoga world who I have never seen at a Pride / Queer event. It's so pedestrian to be GLBT these days that there's little need for safe / segregated spaces. Folks split off into communities based on other interests and passions. Still, there is something missing.

Personally, I'm missing community. I'm neither fish nor fowl, mostly. Whatever passes for a trans community is focused on coming out and transitioning (been there, done that, a decade or more ago), or fixated on victimhood and oppression (neither of which has been my experience)  so there's little there for me. My peers have (admittedly, like me) slipped off into the woodwork and whatever passes for happily ever after. And the queer women's community has so far proven elusive - not a clear focus or hub, and my own radfem / Michfest induced fears about exclusion and going where I am unwanted keep me from looking too hard. On Saturday night I sat (alone) in a full theater filled with cliquish groups of dykes. Along among the tribe.

So yeah. Not so proud this year. I look forward to my annual queer homecoming at camp, and will take the little slices of community and connection I can get.

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