One Year Out

Reflection on what QueerBomb and Pride could bring to each other

One Year Out

I took the good. I took the bad. I took them both and there you have … the facts of GLBTQIA life in Austin.

Andy's post goes into far greater detail about the content of this past weekend's Pride and Queerbomb meetings than I am willing; it is recommended reading. After all, these are two organizations that claim to represent us. Don't you think it might be important to know how they're doing the representing? Read that before this unwieldy diatribe.

I'm conflicted. I know I'm not the only one with concerns, but by no means are these thoughts representative of anyone else's but mine own.

I'm eager for a reconciliation process to start happening between Pride and QueerBomb. QB's message – as I understand it – was in part a protest against the exclusionary tactics – tactics in evidence in creating 2010 Pride.

Great. Swell.

Now that the message has been out for a year, don't you think it's time some redress occurred? If you had problems with 2010, isn't showing up and making sure 2011 is a different affair the first step to a better, more cohesive Pride?

It would appear that the element keeping Bombers out of Pride no longer exists, or if it does, can be mitigated. If you don't begin an overture, what's the point of QueerBomb 2011? To prove … What? That Pride doesn't listen? If you don't talk, how can they listen?

In short, the lack of QueerBomb's participation in the first Pride 2011 meeting did not go unnoticed, and I find it troubling. If QueerBomb's message isn't about reunification than it seems to me that the whole argument devolves into generations fighting about who's more radical and who's more entitled to feel discriminated against.

Last year, QueerBomb proved that eccentricity is one of gay Austin's gifts. The event is only going to get bigger and more impressive. If Pride doesn't pay attention, it risks running into a serious relevancy gap.

Pride 2010 had all the charm of an outdoor fair arranged by a Real Housewife for her gay BFFs. And yes, I occasionally like the snark and trash of Bravo's harpies, but they are utterly without soul, without self-awareness and with an identity defined by the basest of consumerism.

All of this said, neither did reps from Austin Pride attend the QueerBomb planning meeting which happened right after theirs across town. (And just for the record, Andy Campbell, Kate Messer, and I, all from the Gay Place attended both.)

Pride cannot be white-washed into suburban kitsch. There must be a radical element. Ignoring QueerBomb is stupid two-fold. First, it is the best party in the city. You think people labeled it that because of the drinks and DJs? It's not a party that celebrates a third-string late Nineties pop diva with specialty cocktails. It's an exploration of radicalism. It's a tie-in to our queer activist roots. It's a party that says, quite simply, "We exist, and you are better off for having us."

Second, it's growing bigger with nothing but a DIY budget and community support. Look, I don't think there's anything wrong with Budweiser tossing money at queer people. I will enjoy my Absolut cocktail whilst watching RuPaul's Drag Race, thank you very much. But it's undeniably hard to celebrate one's sense of community with so many logos slapping you in your face you think you're in a NASCAR porn parody. Pride could learn something about community involvement.

If antagonism and obliviousness remain the only trade between QueerBomb and Pride, queer Austin is not being served. Both have their place. It's time they both realized it.

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