Sunday, June 15, 2008

Capital Pride 2008

Yesterday was my first gay pride parade, Capital Pride 2008. The Grand Marshall was Bruce Vilanch. I haven't heard of him either. I thought they'd get someone more recognizable but then I remembered that there aren't that many gay famous people in the world.

Max said that the parade would be as much a perversion of his culture as orientalism was a perversion of mine. I saw a group in the parade that was a clever perversion of both our cultures: Men dressed in costume-y kimonos made up like geishas. They marched to commemorate an elderly Asian woman named Noi Chudnoff and carried a large photo of her. A little googling revealed a Washington Post article about her. She was the owner of Go Mama Go!, a home decor boutique with funky, cool things. She was a supporter of LGBT causes. Born in Thailand, Noi went to college in America and married an American husband.

It always makes me happy to see Asians supporting LGBT causes because I think non-heterosexual sexuality is still very taboo in Asian cultures. However, it seemed insensitive to me that geisha drag queens (is that what they're called?) should represent her in the parade. But perhaps at a pride parade, all we can expect are stereotypes.

1 comment:

RaisinBagel said...

I agree with your comment about LGBT Issues in Asian-American culture.

However, with your last comment...though I am traveling to my first official Pride event tomorrow (Yay!), so I haven't been to one yet, I don't know if all we should expect from a Pride parade is stereotypes. I think if the LGBT community wants to work for more inclusiveness in larger society than things need to be approached differently, perhaps more moderately and with the aim of trying to reach middle ground rather than pushing past all boundaries.

Bruce Bawer explains much better this concept in his book "A Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society."

At the same time, you mentioned how there are few famous gay people. I believe that is a reminder of how much silent social oppression there still is out there, and it makes sense that Pride parades would be "over-the-top," or however they are described in the media. Who wouldn't explode with all that pent-up energy?