VT Pride

July 15th, 2008 | Uncategorized

I went to Pride on Saturday. For the first time in a couple of years, I must confess. I had to go see Holly marching in the Maple Leaf Contingent.


Duct tape. In case you were wondering.
Here’s another view—The House of LeMay, a local drag queen troupe, took all these pix from their float, and you can see the leaf creatures about 8 screens down.

I was surprised by how small Pride had become since the last time I’d been. And I was strangely pleased to see that it’s the radical fringe still hanging on. The Radical Faeries, the leather folks, the drag queens, a transgender group, and of course the wacky Maple Leaf semi-nudists, were all out in force. And the droves of church groups and moms with strollers were notably absent. I guess they were all off at the church picnic or something, all happily assimilated. Here’s some Faeries. God, I love those guys.


I don’t know where I fit in this scheme. Like I said, I’ve abandoned Pride in recent years. And I was unwilling to strip down to a Maple Leaf bikini.

not naked

But I have a deep and abiding respect for the people who put themselves out there. As it happens, duct tape loses its adhesiveness when one is sweating profusely in the midday sun. But how resourceful Holly was with that rainbow flag, n’est-ce pas?


53 Responses to “VT Pride”

  1. jayinchicago says:

    I aspire to be a radical faerie someday.

  2. T.A.F. says:

    That last pic is just too cute for words! My wife is from VT – some year we’ll make it up there for Pride (under the guise of going up to see her folks – they’re only about 1/2 hour or so outside of Burlington).

    IMNSHO, when someone feels as if they’ve assimilated, that means they are well past the point they should be putting themselves out there to speak for someone else. It’s given me a whole new perspective on Pride.

  3. shadocat says:

    At least you guys have a pride parade! We didn’t even have one this year.And those Maple Leaf bikinis would never go over in Mo.(Lovely as I might think they are).

    But then maybe if we had more people willing to “put themselves out there” we’d have a decent parade…

  4. shadocat says:

    BTW, is that YOU in the red wig?

  5. julissa says:

    cooool. i wanted to go to burlington pride last weekend but i had rehearsal for my play, sadness, i could have seen you there! 🙁

  6. The Cat Pimp says:

    What SPF do you need in Vermont? 🙂

  7. Bruce says:

    Hooray for Radical Faeries and Wild, Wild Women!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hey, some of those religious groups can be full of wild women. Why do you think I GO to synogog? Also, those little kiddies in those strolers are going to be the next generation of wild women, so someone’s got ta’ do the teachin’ right?

  9. Ginjoint says:

    Dang, that’s brave! I’m surprised the duct tape gave out, though. Do you know they recently used duct tape to repair something on the space shuttle, while it was in orbit? True!

    Hey Alison – I commented on this in the previous thread, but I’ll leave it here too, if you’ll excuse me for the repetition. Alas, A Blog – http://www.amptoons.com/blog/ – has a post up regarding The Bechdel Test. It links to a blog discussing which of Shakespeare’s plays pass The Bechdel Test. I thought you might enjoy it.

  10. ready2agitate says:

    “I don’t know where I fit in this scheme.” So funny to realize that this is a very Mo-like comment, non?…. Well, as a much beloved speaker at the Boston Dyke March a few years ago, it’s clear where you fit in, AB: as a much beloved member (if not a superstar) of our community. We all love you and owe you a huge debt of gratitude (and a hug). (Is that too many “beloveds” for the woman who may have self-confessed to not reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved?

  11. ready2agitate says:

    Great link, Ginjoint, including the NY’er cover (before it hits mailboxes tomorrow), and some (more) commentary abt it.

  12. ready2agitate says:

    Oh no, did I do that not-turning-off the italics thing? Too funny – I finally only JUST learned to turn it on. (So this is a test.)

  13. ready2agitate says:

    uh oh – sorry everyone.

  14. ready2agitate says:


  15. ready2agitate says:

    last try

  16. ready2agitate says:

    dagnabit! bad blogger, R2A, bad!

  17. Ginjoint says:

    R2A, you type this in: . No spaces in between, though.

  18. jayinchicago says:

    how does that happen?

  19. Ginjoint says:

    Fuck. Nevermind. It STILL read what I typed as code, even though I had spaces and extra words in there and everything. O.K., you type this in:

    Let’s see if that goes through for you to read.

  20. Ginjoint says:

    Ahhhhhhhh. Well, the html code I typed didn’t show up in that last comment, but at least the italics are gone.

  21. ladiesbane says:

    Oh, thank you! I haven’t been to Pride in years, mostly because I missed the outrageousness and the outrage and the joy.

    It occurs to me that I stopped being a radical and started being an administrator, movement-wise, a few years after college; back in Oregon, when Lon Mabon was cranking up the OCA, I thought we had to get hard, smart, and frosty to deal with it. I thought it would help to amputate my whimsy, I really did.

    You know the old joke:
    Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    A: That’s not funny.

    I blow a thousand kisses to the House of LeMay! Et salut a mes amis Quebecois! (Et aussi merci mille fois a vous, Mme. Bechdel.)

  22. Ian says:

    Is there somewhere I can read about the Radical Faeries? It looks like something to aspire to be! I’m not sure I could pull off the long floral print skirt look though.

    I’ve not been to Pride (or Mardi Gras as it’s called round ‘ere) since 2002. We don’t have one in my town. I’ve still not forgotten the drag queen built like, and as hairy as, a gorilla wearing a v-slash backless sequinned Shirley Bassey number.

    My reasons for not going anymore?

    1. I hate crowds these days;
    2. I don’t know where I fit in – everyone seems to have a niche;
    3. I object to paying $30 for and wearing a colour-coded wristband that allows me to buy a drink FFS. I hate the wrist band more than the $30 – at least I know that some of the $30 is going to charity.

  23. Alex K says:

    @Ian: Duckie here in London do a lovely GAY SHAME, face-painting booths and all. (Drat, I thought, when I realised that a commitment elsewhere meant I had to miss it this year.) The night-bus ride back from Elephant & Castle some years ago, wearing my “You’ve Been Gaybashed!” makeup on the long trundle well after midnight through Camberwell and beyond, was one of my more memorable experiences.

  24. lavendersparkle says:

    A friend of mine who went to London Pride this year told me that the biggest religious contingent were queer Muslims. Have Muslims become presence at US Prides?

  25. Maggie Jochild says:

    Good parody, satire or irony should never have to be explained. It should provoke a burst of laughter from those who disagree with the object being parodied and a wince from those who agree with the object being parodied.

    The qualifier above, “good” parody, is the key. American culture has become accustomed to bad parody or ineffectual satire. Included in this category are far too many so-called political cartoons, most of The Family Guy and American Dad, most drag (especially drag kings these days), minstrel shows, and hip-hop that’s been through the record company gristmill.

    Good parody includes most of Mel Brooks, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, radical drag (especially the original Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo, the brilliant performers of class/race parody in Paris is Burning, the equally brilliant Asian drag kings in Third Antenna who take on the racism and misogyny of the U.S. military, the original Dyketones when they were led by Naomi Littlebear in the 1970s, and Peggy Shaw), Eddie Murphy doing Buckwheat, and Margaret Cho doing anybody.

    Bad parody tends to reinforce negative stereotypes as much as it hopes to contradict it. (This is why it’s so prevalent — it’s underwritten by the patriarchy. If during the most conservative regime in American history your movie wins an Academy Award for being “daring”, oh, beware.) It usually survives on a skim of embarrassment and sexuality, plastered onto a one-trick pony (i.e., “Lookie, women can dress just like men/men can dress just like women” — if you’ve ever seen a Shriner’s Club fundraiser, you’ve gotten the idea; adding modern music and hustling for bucks is not a radical step forward). Bad parody is the equivalent of stand-up comedians saying “Airline food — what’s up with that?” and waiting for the laugh.

    Good parody will illuminate the lie being contradicted in an incontrovertible way and offer an alternative, gut-punching viewpoint. The New Yorker cover simply reproduces, in depressingly faithful detail, all the shit being flung at Michelle and Barack Obama, with no contradiction whatsoever. Perhaps those who are still hooked by the “Hope and Change We Can Believe In” charisma find the contradiction self-evident, and perhaps those folks are the base who read The New Yorker. But out here where polls indicate too many people believe that Obama is simultaneously a secret Muslim and also an acolyte of Jeremiah Wright’s Black Liberation theology, it was simply a graphic portrayal of what is assumed to be common knowledge.

    I am a radical, and a partisan Democrat. I’m definitely not happy with Obama these days, with his pandering shift to the right (or, more likely, revelation of the conservative misogyny he’s believed in all along), but this depiction was decidedly unfunny. It either preached to the choir or provided an illustration for not-so-secret hatred. More of the dumbing down of America so we remain the corporate consumers of an empire in steep decline.

    I’ve been reading the posts and comments at Bitch Ph.D. about this cover and enjoying them.

    As for the absence of certain kinds of folks at pride parades: You take the word lesbian out of the title, you censor our performers from Dyke parades because they don’t trash the right of Michigan to self-identify (as Bitch was censored from the Boston Dyke March two years ago), you spread continuous lies about our theory and herstory — we’re not going to show up for more of the same. We’re still radical and doing meaningful change in the world, but we put our efforts where it’s appreciated. And that’s NOT the middle-class dismissal of “church groups and moms with strollers”, though at least a third of us in the Second Wave did raise children, mostly from previous marriages, not from groovy AI pregnancies. We have grandkids now, but we’re still in combat boots and Not Assimilated.

  26. freyakat says:

    I second everything you just said, Maggie Jochild. We’re here, and we’re Not Assimilated!

    Now I’m going to check out Bitch PhD.

  27. Leda says:

    Yeah I look at the little groups and think, hmmm I’m not a dyke on a bike, a gay parent or a radical faerie and I don’t see a group of placard waving, thirtyish, curly haired, tomboyish-but-not-butch, Eurovision and knitting loving, non-children wanting, mature student lesbians! But what I love is that what we all have in common is that we are creating our lives and rejecting other peoples ideas of what life should be and it is that that gives me a buzz and makes me feel proud. Yeah, that and the daytime drinking….

    I’m not going for the first time in years this year, as I’ll be in India doing an English language teaching and play project in a school and that feels very odd, but I got that buzz earlier this year when the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester did their first ever Walk Against Homophobia. It was a fundraiser (you had to get sponsored) and an awareness raiser (gay and straight) and had this wonderful feeling of being a really strong and dignified statement; uncompromising in intent, but not angry in tone and cheerful and celebratory but not frivolous. There was a lovely moment right at the beginning, in the part of the parade where I was, when someone with a megaphone shouted “what do we want?” and there was a bit of a silence and heads were cocked to one side in thought, as a response hadn’t been pre-arranged and people were clearly doing a quick mulling over of what to shout first: Nationwide strategy for action on homophobic bullying in schools! More funding for lesbian and gay groups! I’ve had enough of those kids in my street! etc. Then someone yelled out “equality?” and there seemed to be this collective moment of both awe at the simplicity of how brilliantly that one word summed up what we were trying to say and slight giggly sheepishness at having missed it or indeed forgotten it. It was very funny and it kind of broke the ice and we were up and running after that.

  28. Nickel Joey says:

    Leda, I love that story. It gave me a little frisson of joy this morning. Thanks.

    Here’s to equality.

  29. Duncan says:

    Um, Maggie, parody is not the same thing as satire. They may overlap, of course.

    I don’t know if I agree that satire shouldn’t need to be explained. Like humor in general, if you don’t get it, you don’t get it, but that’s not necessarily a sign that something’s wrong with the joke. Humor is as personal a reaction as sexual attraction.

    It seems to me that when someone doesn’t get a given piece of satire, that can be a sign of its success. (For instance, I once published a piece satirizing the hostility of many Americans to learning foreign languages, in which I called bilinguals “fence-sitters.” That got me an angry letter from a professor in the French department — how dare I call bilinguals such an awful thing! I published another in which I applied antigay Christian rhetoric to the fraternity-sorority system, and most of my gay/liberal friends praised me for what they thought was a serious attack on those greek snots. That told me a lot about their real attitudes.) I do think that good satire can (should?) make the reader/viewer both laugh AND wince.

    I didn’t find the New Yorker cover funny, because I don’t think that artist draws funny. But I think the reaction of liberals to it has been educational.

  30. --MC says:

    Wow, this NYer cover controversy got into the cultural bloodstream fast .. my favorite take on it so far is by Seattle’s own David Horsey:


  31. Alex the Bold says:

    Goodness me. It’s like the Fruit of the Loom marketing division’s attempt to corner the lesbians-who-wear-men’s-underwear segment of the market.

    Now, all they need is to be dancing around a burning pile of all of Alison’s old phone bills, etc.

  32. Aunt Soozie says:

    Yes… brave, bold and wowzah!
    Were they the only three maple leaf wearers??
    I was hoping to see a whole huge cadre of leafers.

  33. Tina-cious.com says:

    Holy Adam and Eve, Batman!

  34. Lisa (Calico) says:

    Interesting what you said about Pride VT being more fringe-oriented again.
    I think gay life has (fortunately) become much more mainstream, and a lot of us are simply too busy or feel assimilated comfortably into society now, so going all out one day a year isn’t the Great Statement it used to be 10-15 years ago.
    Maybe it’s the opposite too – some people do not feel comfortable showing up at Pride due to work or family issues, etc. etc. Or it’s a blend of all or none of the above. Who really knows?
    Just my 2 cents. In any case, it looks like it was a really fun day with goegeous weather.

  35. Lisa (Calico) says:

    Oh, and this is comics-related only – wanted to share this-I pilfered the link from a new poster at Joshreads.com .

  36. There were actually only two maple-leaf wearers. The woman in the chaps, wig, and bikini was using some other kind of leaf.

  37. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oh Alison, too funny… thanks for that clarification. you’ve been hanging out with the organic gardening plant lady a lot haven’t you? The way she carries her leaves it’s no wonder. Maybe next year, with all of this publicity, there’ll be a much larger maple leaf contingent. One can only hope.

    re: that New Yorker cover… I think it’s funny. I love the little touches… the American flag in the fire place, the fist bumping… so close to the original action, the oval office rug. Plus, sans the gun of course, I agree… that dykey outfit on Michelle is hot. She should dump the pearls and tasteful suits and go for some fatigues and boots once in awhile.

  38. lesbo mom says:

    Hmm… “moms with strollers” are happily assimilated? Just because you don’t see many (obvious) gay parents at Pride doesn’t mean that there weren’t any there, or that we’re relegated to Straightsville. There are plenty of gay moms out here raising eyebrows and dealing with all kinds of anti-gay-family crap – while we juggle the needs of kids with the needs of our relationships and work.

    It just might be more challenging for us to enter new territory at the daycare or moms group or workplace as the “only” gay moms, than to be extra-queer among other queers.

    I’d expect more pro-gay-mom sentiments from someone who seems to “get” gay parenthood!

  39. Scotia says:

    I went to Pride in NYC this year. Between corporate sponsorship and NYPD aggressive crowd control, I was underwhelmed. The police monitor who walks on which block, checking people in and out at every corner. Also, everyone’s jammed onto sidewalks while the whole wide swath the west end of of Christopher St. was entirely empty, other than of all the extraneous cops standing around scratching their asses (and I don’t blame New York’s finest: after eight years of Adolph Giuliani, followed by eight years of Walt Bloomberg trying to convert new York into a theme park for rich Europeans, what can one expect?).

  40. shadocat says:

    here’s Maureen Dowd’s take on Barack and the New Yorker Cover:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/16/opinion/16dowd.html?th&emc=th

  41. shadocat says:

    that was supposed to be “one more time”-with a better link, but I can’t get it to post…I give up.

  42. Leslie says:

    uh. can’t type. words.

  43. Straight Ally says:

    Hey, folks trying to post long links–

    Go here:


    and near the top of the center of the page, you’ll see “Enter a long URL to make tiny.” Do it. Easy as pie!

    Well, er, that’s all I had to say. Just dropping in.

  44. Straight Ally says:

    Here’s a link to the NYT Maureen Dowd column that shadocat ws pointing out (I guess; it’s Dowd’s column from 7-16-07):


  45. Straight Ally says:


    In my previous post, ws should be was, and, more important, 7-16-07 should be 7-16-08. But it’s the correct link–


  46. Andrew B says:

    This post reminds me of the episode in which Samia shocks Ginger by flashing Cynthia at Pride.

  47. Duncan says:

    Hm. Does Maureen Dowd have a sense of humor? You couldn’t tell it from that column. (Nor could you tell that English is her first language. Are they trying to cut costs at the Times by getting rid of their copy editors?) Whatever my serious reservations about Obama, I hope he knows better than to take advice from the Right on how to run his campaign.

    What is most bizarre is Dowd’s claim that Obama “has not been flayed by the sort of ridicule that diminished Dukakis, Gore and Kerry.” TV comics don’t “flay” anyone; they’re too tame for that. But Obama has certainly been flayed by the Right, who think that calling him “Barack Osama” is a laff riot.

    For a more reality-based take on Obama and humor, take a look at Dennis Perrin’s remarks:


    Dennis agrees that TV comics are nervous about making fun of Obama, but his analysis of the politics is much better than Dowd’s.

  48. shadocat says:

    Thank you, Straight Ally! You rock!

  49. crystal says:

    someone up there asked about where they could read about radical faeries. anthropologist elizabeth povinelli wrote a book called the empire of love and radical faeries are one of the communities through which she forges a theory of intimacy and sociality. i loved the book (http://www.dukeupress.edu/books.php3?isbn=978-0-8223-3889-5)

    i also missed pride this year. no pride here in malawi… yet!


  50. Virginia Burton says:

    I’m curious about how the duct tape was applied. Folded over on itself? Thank your lucky stars that it came off with perspiration–the burn marks it would leave would make any friskiness too painful for weeks!

  51. kat says:

    I was going to ask how one would REMOVE the duct tape from such sensitive areas, but apparently that wasn’t the problem!

  52. neth to alison says:

    thank you for giving me a picture of the faeries to reflect upon. This is my family.