[UPDATED 4/18/12: please see the follow up post]
sometimes when i’m out dancing, surrounded by queers i love and queers i don’t know, appreciating how so many folks around me are as much of a gender-fucking mess as i am, i forget that a “safe” space is never a guarantee. it is an ideal. a code of conduct that we hope people adhere to. it is, at root, a goal–not a proclamation. not a guarantee. sometimes, i think we forget this.
“Shut up queen! shut up queen! shut up! queen queen queen queen queen!” i can still hear that last part. it does this kind of echo-loop in my head sometimes where the word runs together, like a CD skipping right before the “en” sound. “Quee-quee-quee-quee-quee–.” If i wasn’t so appalled i might be impressed by their ability to repeat the same word so goddamned fast.
i’ve had bits and pieces written on this since it happened around mid february, but haven’t gotten around to organizing them into something coherent until now. And since I realized it’s still something i’m thinking quite a bit about, and something which influences my relationship to portland’s queer scene, I should get it out.
it was my birthday celebration and a group of friends and i had decided to go to Mrs. together, a monthly queer dance party at mississippi studios. watching blow pony slip further and further into mainstream gaydom (straight onlookers in welcome tow) left me wanting for more explicitly trans and genderqueer friendly spaces. while i had never been personally, Mrs. was repeatedly billed to me as just that, and it sounded great.
and here’s the thing: for the most part, it really was. the theme was “let’s get physical,” so there was plenty of brightly colored spandex, hot pants, swimsuits, you name it –and it all looked pretty fabulous. plus the absurd workout videos from the last four decades they were projecting behind the stage didn’t hurt. i even saw this one hipster in full 80s workout gear (sweatband and all) walking around with a walkman and headphones. such commitment! sidebar: are all party themes automatically retro now? is that just like, default?
Anyway, for the most part, the music was really enjoyable too. i remember one song — a sign of things to come, though we didn’t know it yet — that came on which made my friends and i stop our bodies to talk. i don’t even remember what song it was anymore, but the point it brought up was why, at queer dance parties, do we consistently listen–and dance–to super misogynistic music?? is it somehow ironic? is it okay because ‘hey, we’re all in the know and feminist and stuff, so we can just enjoy it?’ what, exactly, makes it okay?