things to think about


today I am thinking about: getting co-opted
June 25, 2011, 12:16 pm
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Yesterday was my favorite part of pride: the drag march. Hundreds of beautiful queer freaks take to the street, wearing whatever is most fabulous. Dressed to the nines, we parade across the city, from Tomkins Square Park to the Stonewall. There are drums, and horns, and merriment, and so many amazing outfits you just have no idea. It’s what I imagine pride ought to be all the time – a ton of people looking fabulous and taking the streets to show just how good it is. Who are we to feel so free? We’re fucking awesome is who we are.

This year it was particularly awesome. It was huge – everyone kept commenting how huge it was. A Japanese dance troupe came and joined us as we crossed 2nd Avenue. All the gawkers/tourists/normals were watching wistfully from their brownstone apartments and lining the streets. There were horns, a bass drum, and 3/4 of the people I love most in this city.

Every year, in front of the Stonewall, everyone comes together and sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The first time this happened, I cried. It was healing – standing in the street with my friends and community, holding each other, dreaming of a better world. And there, in front of the Stonewall, where everything started changing, where the brave and visible queers started fighting back; it was a powerful moment of remembering what it is to be free, not defensive.

This year, when we got to the Stonewall, there were news cameras all over. We knew we were fabulous, but we are rarely THAT fabulous. Photogs. Every major news station. We sang our song, we danced hard to a bike set of speakers, and we successfully held the street when the police decided the party was over. We went on and on, dancing harder and harder, everyone taking our pictures like they ought to…

And then gay marriage passed.

I am not a person who hates gay marriage. Frankly, I love it – I love anything that allows people to take care of each other. I don’t love marriage as the only option, and I don’t love marriage as the only goal of a movement, but I feel good about both marriage itself and the symbolic victory it (hopefully) represents. It’s not being able to sponsor your spouse for immigration, or having health insurance for everyone, but it’s something. (You should read this article for a better critique.)

But suddenly, there we are, the freaks, the queers, the drag stars, the dancers – and we’re being coopted into the marriage movement. Here I am, out on the wire, first Gawker, now the Miami Herald (I’m the one in green watching):

Fucking hot-ass queers dancing hard in front of the Stonewall.

Dancing queens - I'm the one in green on the side.

There is something that turns my stomach about this other march, this march about being fabulous, about taking space, about NOT giving in, being coopted into the best and most interesting pictures (let’s be real) of people celebrating marriage. The drag march isn’t about assimilation or striving to get married; it’s about accepting that one day a year – ONE DAY A YEAR – we can take to the streets in all our weirdness to celebrate not the right to get married but the right to be fabulous on whatever terms we want.

This person isn’t dancing because she can get married. She’s dancing because Beyoncé is fierce, because there was a vogue-off, because she was taking the streets in front of Stonewall in the name of a good party and the rights we choose to take that go way beyond marriage – the right, in fact, to be ourselves, without waiting for state permission.

I’m taking my sweetheart/girlfriend/partner/shmoo pie of 3 years home to meet my family in Missouri next week. I am so excited for them to meet her and for her to see the particular swirling insanity of where I am from, bad jokes, matching faces, cranky kibbitzing, and all. Right now, I am dreading the questions that suddenly are possible: are you guys going to get married? When are you going to pop the question? And I am dreading what it will mean to our relationship if we say no, not really – will people take our relationship, or care and love for each other, less seriously? Will they think we ought to break up if we’re not going in that direction? Marriage isn’t just about solemnizing a commitment; it’s a certain kind of ritual act that ends up invalidating so many other choices. Sunshine Sugardish and I might never get married – not because we don’t love each other, but because it just might not be where we want to go.

I wasn’t marching in the street yesterday for the right to be like everyone else. I was marching in the street for the right to be exactly myself, to have my relationships validated on my terms, to feel good about being the weird and complicated creature that I am with the weird and complicated relationships that I have, inside the large and sprawling family that I have built to hold myself that has nothing to do with solemnizing one relationship as the most important in my life. That large and sprawling family is what made all those pictures great and interesting. To have us co-opted in the name of assimilation is missing the point.

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today i am still thinking about: THE GODDAMN RAIN
July 3, 2009, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

I just thought you all would be interested in knowing what the National Weather Service had to say about this June:

From http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&product=PNS&issuedby=OKX

000
NOUS41 KOKX 012057
PNSOKX

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
455 PM EDT WED JUL 1 2009

…UNUSUALLY WET AND COOL JUNE FOR CENTRAL PARK…

FOR SOME PERSPECTIVE…HERE ARE THE TOP TEN COOLEST AND WETTEST
JUNES ON RECORD SINCE 1869 FOR CENTRAL PARK NY:

COOLEST WETTEST
AVG. TEMP. YEAR INCHES PRECIP. YEAR
64.2 1903 10.27 2003
65.2 1881 10.06 2009
65.7 1916 9.78 1903
66.8 1926/1902 9.30 1972
67.2 1958 8.79 1989
67.3 1927 8.55 2006
67.4 1928 7.76 1887
67.5 2009/1897 7.58 1975
67.7 1878 7.13 1938
67.8 1924 7.05 1871

DUE TO THE UNUSUALLY COOL AND WET CONDITIONS IN JUNE…HERE ARE SOME
INTERESTING FACTS TO NOTE:

THIS JUNE IS TIED FOR THE 8TH COOLEST ON RECORD. THE AVERAGE
TEMPERATURE WAS 67.5…3.7 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL…WHICH ALSO
OCCURRED IN 1897.

THIS WAS THE COOLEST JUNE SINCE 1958…WHEN THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE
WAS 67.2 DEGREES.

BELOW AVERAGE TEMPERATURES OCCURRED ON 23 OUT OF 30 DAYS THIS
JUNE…OR 75 PERCENT OF THE MONTH.

CENTRAL PARK HAS NOT HIT 90 DEGREES IN THE MONTH OF JUNE THIS YEAR.
THE LAST TIME THIS OCCURRED WAS BACK IN 1996.

CENTRAL PARK HAS NOT HIT 85 DEGREES IN THE MONTH OF JUNE THIS YEAR.
THE LAST TIME THIS OCCURRED WAS BACK IN 1916. THIS HAS ONLY OCCURRED
2 OTHER TIMES…1903 AND 1886.

THE LAST TIME THAT CENTRAL PARK HIT 90 OR GREATER THIS YEAR WAS IN
APRIL. THE LAST TIME THAT CENTRAL PARK HIT 90 IN APRIL…BUT NOT IN
JUNE WAS BACK IN 1990.

THE LAST TIME THAT CENTRAL PARK HIT 85 OR GREATER THIS YEAR WAS IN
MAY. THE LAST TIME THAT CENTRAL PARK HIT 85 IN MAY…BUT NOT IN JUNE
WAS BACK IN 1903. THE LAST TIME THAT CENTRAL PARK HIT 85 IN
APRIL…BUT NOT IN JUNE WAS ALSO BACK IN 1903.

THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE REACHED IN CENTRAL PARK IN THE MONTH OF JUNE
WAS 50 DEGREES. THE LAST TIME THIS OCCURRED WAS BACK IN 2003.

THE LOW TEMPERATURE DIPPED BELOW 60 DEGREES 11 TIMES IN THE MONTH OF
JUNE. THE LAST TIME THIS OCCURRED WAS IN 2003 WHEN IT OCCURRED 17
TIMES.

IT WAS THE SECOND WETTEST JUNE ON RECORD WITH 10.06 INCHES OF [GODDAMN] RAIN.
THE WETTEST JUNE ON RECORD IS 2003 WITH 10.27 INCHES.

THERE WERE 19 DAYS THIS JUNE WHERE THERE WAS AT LEAST 0.01 INCHES OF
[GODDAMN] RAINFALL. THIS HAS NEVER OCCURRED IN CENTRAL PARK.

AT LEAST A TRACE OF [GODDAMN] RAINFALL WAS REPORTED ON 23 OUT OF 30 DAYS THIS
JUNE.

$$