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Queer Editorial

ScoochPNG.jpg I got my Pride…


Many of the gay pride events during the summer months are defined by a mixture of activism and hedonism. These two rather different tendencies and strategies have been both a cause of controversy and celebration amidst the variety of people who choose to either embrace, critique or indeed subvert the term queer. As we move forward it seems as if our politics and identities are as fragmented and disparate as they have ever been which makes me think that rather than criticising why we exist in queer factions we maybe need to look at the differences that these divisions cultivate rather than giving in to the repetitious similarities inherent in some of queer life. While Pride events work and undeniably bring people together there is also something of the ‘kitchen at parties’ syndrome going on. Cliques of homos seem to avoid groups of lesbians and just like the gay bar scene the old stigmas of age, looks and body image seem to define who you are.
The exciting variety of life as a queer individual is marked out by the divergent possibilities of integrity and noncompliance and while big events manage to momentarily bring these facets together they also emphasise our implicit divisions from within. And while we ought to be using these fissures productively there may also be something to be said for continuing to cause friction with them. Last month at Newcastle Pride the Cheeky Girls, Scooch (pictured), Diva Fever and Sonia played to the crowds and on the whole the queer dimensions of the event seemed to tick all of the boxes – if you wanted camp cheesiness you could find it; the relevant and well defined presence of AIDS and HIV awareness; a women only space; all of the elements and identities we have come to know as ‘queer’ were right there and the ubiquitous parade seemed to express a degree of commitment and permeate a presence which could not be missed. Yes, there is a simultaneous degree of cliché and often a rather obvious set of stereotypes but that’s how queer culture has worked for at least the last 20 if not the last 50 years. The whole paradox of queer and gay pride is that it seems to awkwardly resist definition and coherence. It refuses rather than conforms and in these days of the post-pink pound we often forget that while we may well be here, and we are certainly queer, we don’t really need to get used to it.