|Impressions of Capital Pride 2007|
|Opinion - Global Warning|
|Lisa Jain Thompson|
|Monday, 11 June 2007 12:00|
. . . a perfect marriage, wedding capitalistic intentions and queer dollars
The car is loaded, with room for two riders and little else, filled with brochures, hand-outs, and giveaways: Mardi-Gras beads in metallic red, white, and blue; orange translucent pens with the TS-Si logo printed on them.
Have no idea about the fascination with brightly colored beads, only know that everyone comes running if the beads are free.
The giveaways will bring people to the table who might otherwise walk past the orange banner hanging above the booth, although we will be the only one with “Transsexual” largely announcing the presence of our (their) symposium.
Check-in in Downtown D.C.
The festival grounds run from 7th Street near the Navy Memorial down Pennsylvania Avenue to 3rd Street near the reflecting pond at the base of the Capitol. Four long blocks on Pennsylvania blocked off for the festival.
A few exhibitors have arrived before us, but for the most part, the blocked off streets are empty, the tables and chairs lay on the ground, waiting to be set up under the hundreds of tents that stretch to the main stage, silhouetted by the U. S. Capitol, at the far end of the festival.
More than two hundred thousand will attend today’s celebration. At the moment there are only a few dozen and the morning is still quiet.
We have a double booth intentionally. One for TS-Si, the other for HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive) who have never had access to a public gathering before, certainly not one the size of Capital Pride. This will be their first time in the public light encountering the gay community and straight middle America.
When we told Brett and the D. C. Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit we were bringing the working girls to Pride, he could only smile and shake his head. We promised no money would exchange hands.
We set up the table and chairs, a U shape for us, a single table for HIPS.
The set-up of our display is finished, the banner is hung. My daughters, Emily and Felicia, arrive to help with the booth for the next eight hours.
[None of my adult children left when I came out, although one did join the marines (but he keeps in touch) – the Sicilian genes for family must run true.]
One hour until start time and HIPS is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the girls are still working. We have no idea what they plan to do.
We run to the Starbucks a few blocks away for coffee. We need caffeine to make it through the day (I prefer cappuccino, if you need to know).
The crowds have been wandering in for the last thirty -minutes. We’ve already had a few religious types stop by to gather information for outreach programs. The anti-gay religions don’t even bother, having already decided that a transsexual sinner is no better than a gay one.
HIPS shows up thirty minutes to the hour with a whole lot of condoms, a thirteen inch long, three inch wide chocolate colored, detailed phallic dildo, and a couple boxes of multi-flavored Blow Pops.
They will spend the day demonstrating that a normal condom is big enough to fit any penis by blindfolding volunteers and having them put a condom on the dildo. It always fits and we quickly go to the bottom line:
If your lover tells you that he is too big to fit inside a condom,
He’s a liar or delusional. Either way, kick him out of your bed before he infects you with something.
1200 to 1600:
(I apologize for the 24 hour clock, but it’s easier to depict time clearly. Noon is noon, 1600 is 4 PM).
The crowd swells to capacity as people come, spend two or three hours, passing by booths, eating food, buying Pride items and souvenirs, and being assaulted by Corporate America trying to make a buck off queers.
It is a perfect marriage, wedding capitalistic intentions and queer dollars into a single political entity that is slowly changing U. S. politics. Everyone wants our money; the gay community needs to spend it. The best way to accomplish that is equality. This is the reason major corporations support us (and incidentally set their carny booths up at Pride Celebrations).
Money talks and homophobia walks.
Someone goes by with barbeque, pork, southern style, from the smell.
HIPS is going great guns (so to speak). You would be surprised how many lesbian are really, really good at putting condoms on a dildo. Straight girls too, obviously and gay guys. The straight boys seem to be less practiced.
Serena, dressed in four inch platforms, tight leather shorts, and pasties is joyfully working the booth. She is a show all by herself and is having a grand time cajoling the crowd into pinning the condom on the dildo. Works every time, even if some participants obviously need more practice.
One man, on a dare, takes the big one into his mouth a good five or six inches, much to the astonishment of all concerned. He seems to enjoy deep throating it, earning gasps, applause, and a Blow Pop, flavor of his choice.
I suggest that at least he always has a profession he can fall back on should he lose his day job.
The dildo is supposedly a life cast. The women, straight and lesbian, all agree that if we see anyone with a thirteen inch dick come in one door, we will rapidly exit the other. There are limits, even to love.
I figure anyone with a penis that big must be still be a virgin or have a very tired right hand.
Serena takes everything in stride and continues to work the marks.
The DC Area Transmen Society (DCATS) is a couple booths down as is Transgender Health Empowerment (THE), who run queer shelters, so that the sequence as you walk into the festival is
all in row. We are a questionable crew – cute, streetwise, sexy, and transitioning.
The transmen like to show-off their newly hormoned beards and muscles. They are nicely pleasant to look at and smell like young men.
The transgenders are rather quiet, the hookers out front.
We have a constant flow of visitors to our booth:
Food is everywhere. All nationalities, all ethnic groups. If you can cook it on a grill and carry it away, it is available. the Italian Sausage is very good, but spicy, consuming a lot of bottled water.
The porta-johns are what you expect. Some one has very bad aim (on the walls!?), forcing me to hoversquat.
The crowd starts to thin, but stops at TS-Si searching for free beads and pens.
The air is muggy, the litter is beginning to overflow the receptacles.
HIPS, having finally run out of condoms, packs up and goes home but not before Sharon takes a group photo of Serena and her cute male helper for our site
The photos turn out great but might not be ready to publish because of the presence of the thirteen inch dildo in all the shots. (Sharon is playing with the dildo as I write this, trying to find a way to snip it out of the shots).
No one has cursed us out this year. Somewhat disappointing. Have we become mainstream this quickly?
We’re down about 500 pens and multiple grosses of red, white, and blue beads.
Breaking down the table and chairs, we return them to the guy whose whole job appears to make sure we don’t make off with any. He’s good natured about it and pretends not to notice that we are tired and sweaty.
We carry our stuff back to car. Much less remains than when we arrived.
Stragglers wander down to far bandstand where the band will play on until seven or later.
The temperature has dropped a little, but the humidity remains.
We start our return to Northern Virginia, air conditioning, and leftover pizza.
2100 to 2200:
Tony Soprano survives and we fade to black at the end of still another Pride Sunday in our Nation’s Capital.
|Last Updated on Monday, 27 August 2007 12:15|