Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Justice event

For my social justice event I went to "gay bingo". I didn't plan on using it for my social justice event when I went in February, but it definitely fits! The third Thursday of every month gay bingo is held in Cranston by AIDS Project RI and Aids care Ocean State. I originally went because my mother and grandmother talked me into going with them. They had never been before, and neither of them is gay, but they had heard that you could win more money there than at regular So I went with them, not knowing what to expect. I was uncomfortable with the idea of going at first, because I am not gay, and I thought everyone there would think I was gay. I'm not sure why I would even care if people thought I was gay, but it definitely opened my eyes to the fact that even though I tell myself I look at all people equally regardless of sexual orientation, obviously I thought people are treated differently if they are gay and did not want to be seen as "one of them". I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was surprised by the host of the bingo, a cross dresser (transvestite?) named Miss Kitty Litter. She (not sure which pronoun to use here) was very outrageous and entertaining, and told many crude (but somewhat funny) jokes, and seemed well loved by everybody there. With the exception of the time when we first walked in, everything went smoothly. When we first walked in my grandmother and her senior citizen friends saw a basket with free stuff (they love free stuff, doesn't matter what it is!) They thought it was matchbooks and started grabbing a bunch of them. You should have seen how red their faces got when we pointed out that they were condoms! I was proud that my mother and grandmother and her friends were open minded enough to go to the gay bingo, especially considering how outrageous it was at times. I was a little surprised, however, that with the exceptions of some pamphlets when you first walked in, you would never have known that the intention was to raise money for AIDS awareness. Nobody spoke about AIDS. But I guess the point was more to raise money than to raise awareness at this particular event. I think the money would be used to raise awareness about AIDS, but that wasn't the focus of the evening. The fact that it was so outrageous, (for example, some of the things the bingo players would yell out when certain numbers were called made ME blush), makes me think about Dennis Carlson. At first, I saw this event as the LGBTQ community marginalizing themselves, which isn't a very good thing, but as I thought more about it I changed my mind and know I think they were actually doing what Carlson would have wanted them to do, fighting erasure and invisibility. Especially the host, who was proudly proclaiming her gender identity and making no excuses for it. This also connects to Johnson, because these people certainly weren'y shy about "saying the words"! All in all, it was a fun experience. I'm not sure if I would go again, but it was definitely interesting!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really fun! And wonderful self reflection -- I love how you struggle to make sense of the questions that this brought up for you. (BTW, Kitty Litter is a "drag queen" in Providence and when she is performing, she uses the pronoun "she")