They call it way too rowdy, we call it finally free

GayBiGayGay is a one day queer family reunion that takes place every year in Austin, TX.

It’s held on the last day of a monolithic hipster-fest you may have heard of called South by Southwest (scroll right to the bottom for some thoughts on SXSW, consumerism and queer representation at music festivals.)

I think these pics can speak for themselves, but I wanted to say a bit about what GayBiGayGay meant, why it felt SO FREAKIN’ GOOD, why events like this tiny queer festival in Austin TX are so damn important.

Also check out Bonica Ayala’s proper professional photos here. And also you should click every credit link in this post if you’re interested in discovering a shedload of new and amazing music.

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People ask ‘why do you put queer in your Twitter profile?’, say ‘it’s great that you’re queer but why go on about it?’, ‘Why do queers need special events?’

Why? Because we’re special (so special), and beautiful, and amazing…and because we live in a world that continuously tells us the opposite.

That we’re disgusting, sick, messed-up, pedophiles, perverts, wrong. I’ve seen self-identified ‘liberal’ people wince at the effeminate drawl of a draw queen, or question what went so wrong in a woman’s childhood that she should ‘decide to be gay’. And that is the ‘safe’ end of homophobia and transphobia. At the other end, through school bulling and workplace discrimination and parents throwing their kids out, we have violence and murder.

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Not everyone is safe to shout their sexual or gender identity from the rooftops (or quietly write it in their social media profile). Not everyone can go out on the streets in a public Pride parade and proclaim ‘we’re here, we’re queer’. For those of us who can, visibility is a key part of the fight. And for those who can’t, perhaps events like Gay Bi Gay Gay can show that no matter how afraid you are to be your own self, there is a whole big diverse and wonderful community supporting you.

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The day before GBGG Bonica, Laura and I accidentally stumbled across a free SXSW gig in a local bar. I don’t know how many skinny white boys with beards, check shirts and guitars I’ve seen play their rock in let’s say the past six years but unfortunately it’s a lot. Whilst they were a little experimental, a little edgy, whilst they jiggled around a little on stage and looked like they really, really meant it…I could only yawn. The next day I realised why.

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Gay Bi Gay Gay was loud and proud, ostentatious, flouncy, angry, joyful, mournful, thoughtful, dressed-up, dressed-down, stripped-off and awesome. Black queens, latino butches, indie femmes, topless hippies, sober kings, shy tomboys, guitar-wielding grrrls, brown bois, white fags, androgynous teens, non-binary persons, fat rockers, skinny rappers and everyone else had come together in this field at the end of a festival marketed at clueless bearded white hipsters to celebrate what’s really going on, where the creativity really comes from. It comes from the margins, from the outcasts, from the winced-at and wondered-about. We mourned our dead – especially our murdered. We celebrated our lives and each others’ lives. We gave thanks to the four elements and to the sky and the weather and the season.

And then we fucking rocked.

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Big Bill

Until everyone in the world feels they can walk down the street feeling as free as we all felt at GBGG, then events like this are needed. Pride (and related noncommercial events) are when those of us who are able to get to shove a little queerness down everyone’s throats, the way straight culture is shoved down ours every other day of the damn year. And GBGG is where we can come to be with people who understand us and feel truly, truly good.

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Erica Nix

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Rainbow Noise (who are IN-credible)

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Angeliska

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bell’s Roar (my fave)

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Bonica and Laura hosted me so I could actually attend GayBiGayGay <3

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Bottoms

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The Witchual with Adrienne Anenome

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NB The pics I took on my phone were woefully inadequate to show the beauty, colour and diversity of this tiny festival. Here are some waaaaay better ones by Otis Ike!

Finally here’s a beautiful statement from the GBGG organisers on the 10th anniversary of their festival. It’s well worth a read. (If the text is too small, click the image to enlarge it.)

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5 comments

  1. Elisabeth says:

    This is so amazingly wonderful and inspiring! We really do need these spaces! Sometimes we need to just know they exist for mental health–to keep hope alive. Also great writing! It looks like Angeliska is using three decks for a reading? Is that so? I’ve wanted to do that. I love tarot readers who are like, ‘I know the rules, but screw the rules, here’s what I wanna do, and I’m gonna kick ass doing it!’

    • Beth says:

      Yeah absolutely!! Reading with Angeliska, basically I just got out the three decks I had with me, and there were four of us, each drawing cards from a bunch of different decks for each other. It was a lovely tarot free for all 🙂

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