Sunday, September 30, 2007

our first gay pride in durham.

there are two events, or non-events, that i found most disturbing about gay pride in durham... a few things that i found less disturbing... and some things that i found endearing and quite moving. i'm going to explain, in that order, to the best of my ability.

first... the protestors.

it is not at all shocking for there to be religion-based protests at any LGBT event. i think i can safely say that we, as a group of people that continuously have the "words of God" thrown in our faces, we have developed a united face of indifference & amusement. however, for myself, and maybe for some others, i find this to be a mask. and yesterday i could not keep my mask up. it is so extremely offensive to me that these protesters USE the one time a year that we as a people, and here in durham a people with NO RIGHTS & PROTECTIONS, UNITE TO CELEBRATE, as a tool in their misguided projects of religious zealotry.

what got to me yesterday was the PREACHER W A MEGAPHONE, the white PREACHER with his African American Congregation... many of them under the age of ten... standing across the street from our Parade starting point... going on some long long long tirade about Gender. Apparently we are just confused... we think we are MEN... THAT'S why we want to FUCK WOMEN! and if we just realize, through God's love... and his amazing logic.. that we are WOMEN... we will want to FUCK MEN.

i started photographing them. applauding them. i wanted to make THEM the spectacle. i wanted to actually throw rocks at the preacher and save the children. but mostly, it broke my heart, a little, to be demonized.

but sir... i don't think i'm a MAN at all! i am a woman who loves to FUCK WOMEN. so that means GOD and i are okay, right?

it became so infuriating... to be made this spectacle... and then the flip.

the actual parade seemed to be geared completely towards NORMALIZING us... straight-washing us.

o, hey, look straight citizens of Durham... we aren't deviant... no no no... we are JUST LIKE YOU. there were more churches in the parade than anything else.

fire with fire?

and imagine what it would be like to be Transgendered in the place... i really can't imagine. i can try... i do try... but it just makes me cry.

even with all that... and more that i'm forgetting, right now, in my fury...

it is a very sweet parade.

a lot of people. a lot.

i saw JD from Le Tigre walking around... there was the Cowboy from the Village People... hehe.

and we walked around for three hours. and went home. and that was it.

no dyke march. no drunken party in the streets. no DRINKING AT ALL in the streets. no running around the castro looking for BJ's. no naked women running around with dildos... NO NAKED ANYBODY.

about 15 drag queens. MR. GAY. no MS. Dyke though. don't know why.

three motorcycles.

[dykes on bikes.]

a ton of gay families.

am i disappointed? a little. i mean... i'm missing the Bay Area. i'm missing being one of a very large & identifiable group. i'm missing my freedom of movement.


the things is... there's a lot i can do here. to make things better for myself. and maybe there wasn't so much left to do in San Francisco. but here... there's tons. like... even adding gay bashing as a hate crime.

there is also tons to do in Poetry. [there is one Poetry teacher at Duke. they don't teach Poetry. really. they don't.]

and for Dogs... [ high kill shelters, unneutered pitbulls running rampant, chained up dogs everywhere]

so maybe in the 5 or 6 years that i am here i can do something about these things that disturb me greatly.

and maybe Durhamites won't take it so personally when i notice these things... because it isn't all yr fault Durham... you are an amazing city with an amazing capacity to LOVE artists & queers...



Imelda said...

It's true Duke doesn't teach much contemporary poetry, but there's a LOT of poetry being taught: Lentricchia teaches Modernism, Quilligan teaches renaissance epic poetry, Shannon teaches renaissance lyric poetry, Aers and Somerset teach medieval poetry, Pfau teaches romantic poetry. In Romance Studies, Eisner teaches Dante and Boccachio and I'm sure there's more I'm not remembering at the moment. It's all very canonical, I know, but it wasn't when it was written. "Always historicize!" eh?

AdamTori said...

My dear sister... too many people use God - it's upsetting... I know there is a lot for you to do there... but, please be careful... I do not know what I would do if anything were to happen to you!! I need my big sister! I love you!

kathryn l. pringle said...


i see what you are saying and appreciate it... i forget sometimes that people reading this blog may not know me... when i say teach poetry i mean the WRITING of it. but also, yes, there needs to be way more poetry than this. way more.

thank you for finding it where you can.

TORI... i'm always careful.

Chris Vitiello said...

i like how your second picture of the protesters makes it look like they've each paired off with their cars. i doubt their god would condone their doing uncouth things with those haughty SUVs.

i was thinking about the parade's normalizing effect too, but also wondering how much a parade as a structure normalizes its content regardless. still, i was getting pretty tired of seeing these small prefab signs that read "i'm a presbyterian" or "i'm a baptist." like they were bought in bulk or something from NC Gay Pride 'R Us. how about "i'm a human being," that would be nice. or "if you can read this, hey, we're both human beings, whaddaya know?"

durham is quiet a lot of the time, but it's not uncommon for it to become the front lines either. i would say there's a high level of tolerance, and acceptance, and a low level of defiance. the nature of the tolerance and acceptance is general goodwill, and is therefore pretty normalizing, which gives me a constant queasiness because i'd rather see conflict in the streets too. some of this dulledness is because we lack a critical mass, some of it is that durham is a wee town, and some of it is mundane suburban american hypocrisy. maybe i should carry a sign that reads "i'd riot in the streets for what i vehemently believe, but i have to run some errands and rest up to go to work tomorrow, you know how it is..." but then again, dangerous crackpot preachers in the midwest have bussed their congregations to durham to burn crosses in the parking lots of churches that have touted tolerance. we must have some undercurrent of doing something right. it's worth living this complicatedness, however latent it is most of the time here.

kathryn l. pringle said...

hi chris... yeah... i hear you on the t-shirt...

maybe it is that there is no Anti-Parade put on by LGBT, and no Dyke March... which never has permission to close down the streets and the park... they just do it. i think we should at least have a dyke march... i mean... come on! this is dyke durham.

eden said...

hi Kate! greetings from my new and kinda sad life in maine. i mean, maine is awesome, objectively speaking, but the margins of my dailiness are pretty tight: work, work, work, teach, fret about job market, teach, meet with students, eat, sleep, take little stabs at unpacking, teach, teach, eat, sleep, think about writing, read a little, teach, teach . . . . it's all more than a little lonely and quite a bit overwhelming. so i live vicariously -- which includes keeping up with things in durham, such as the gay pride parade, and i've been pretty dismayed and actually surprised by the statements in the press by parade organizers and participants insisting on the 'healthy' agenda of queer normativity that differentiates the durham parade from new york's and san francisco's. it makes me sad that what is in many ways such a vibrant and diverse and VISIBLE community subjects itself to these norming pressures even on the one day of the year when 'norms' are (at least in theory) temporarily suspended. and that it should take the form of such abjecting dis-identifications ("we're NOT like SF, with their assless chaps and scary mustachiaoed lesbians . . .")
and one more comment: fuck Duke blue.

kathryn l. pringle said...

o, eden o!

we think about you EVERY DAY we miss you that much! we even have an occasional "What Would Eden Do?" discussion when we are too tired to go out.

i'm going to email you right now. but yes...

Fuck Duke Blue & also, even moreso, Fuck Straight Washing!

besides... most of the Straight folks i know... would be bored to tears and offended if they heard themselves being translated into these kinds of "Normal" relations.

i seriously think we should look into a dyke march. and put a little deviance in next year's parade!

and God Bless the handful of Trannies that marched in their thongs! i love you!

amy said...

I feel you. The link is to one of my favorite responses to church folk claiming a homophobic god for themselves. At the Dyke March here in NYC, I like to say "friendly" things to them as I pass, usually along the lines of, "Leggo my Eggo!" just to befuddle them. They enjoy the angry response too much. Deny them that and document them - your approach is good.

Here's the video:

Lots of other youtube documentation on people coming together to give that group, especially, the whatfor.

kathryn l. pringle said...




rozydesouza said...

great ..thanks for sharing.....

Lock in your price today for Your favorite channels - and keep it there until 2010!