June 28th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Tom Robinson

Woke up late-ish, and by the time we breakfasted and changed a travellers cheque with Georges, it was 11.30.  We called Nick, a guy from the workshop, whom we’d arranged to call about going to the cinema, but he was going to see the latest Bond movie, so we cancelled for this week.  There was also a game of softball in the park, but we decided to check out the huge Lesbian + Gay Pride parade first, as it was only a stroll away.  It was certainly very crowded – we later learned that there were 250,000 people there.  And a huge gay carnival was certainly something to see.  There were gay cowboys, gay doctors, gay parents, gay just about everything, with relatively “straight” looking ones as well as totally outrageous ones, be they high-heeled coiffeured guys to girls in leather on bikes – dykes on bikes.  We moved along from the parade to the stage, where the performers were, and decided to forego the softball for a while, and catch the gay action.  We got a place towards the front, and stood and watched.  (Midway thro’ the afternoon, we moved to the enclosed area in front, for the press and disabled, along with quite a few others, and sat down.)  The general pattern was a 20 minute music spot followed by 3 political speeches, which fairly quickly became rather tedious, since they were rather repetitive.  There were a lot of attractive lesbians dancing around, tho’ one had to look out for their very butch girlfriends.  The highlight of the afternoon was Tom Robinson, who did an excellent spot – “Walk On The Wild Side” as well as, of course “Glad To Be Gay”.  Went back to the hotel and changed , and then caught the bus out to near the park, where Jim’s group, The Theatre of the Deranged, was performing.  Arrived early, so spent time eating more than we wanted in a Chinese restaurant.  Sort of diy pancakes – very nice.  Show – once again gratis – was very good, Jim + 2 others standing out in particular, and the highlight being an improvised poem about the Rev Moon, performed by one of these, named Chris.  Went to another theatre nearby which was having a party, ate some nice food, and then walked back… a long way.

Not my finest hour, betraying an outdated and vaguely offensive wonder that gay people are on display; I hope you are able to accept it as an example of the language of the time, rather than actual entrenched homophobia… which I don’t think I have.

And apologies for the photo, which is the only one – and therefore the best – that we have of the occasion. It really is Tom Robinson, though I admit it is hard to tell.

  1. Pamela Blair

    The do it your self pancakes are called Mushu pork. Don’t you have them in England? I loved your reaction to the gay pride parade. I didn’t see it as homophobic.

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