sappho psalm Volume 21/Issue 17/2003
by Toni Pizanie
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Through the long, hot, wet summer, we can see Southern Decadence just ahead. That wonderfully happy, Gay celebration which for years was enjoyed in almost secrecy. Now with the introduction of the Internet into our festival, SD has become a multimillion dollar enterprise for the City of New Orleans with thousands of tourist crowding our streets, bars, restaurants and businesses.
There are big political changes this year and if we want SD to continue, we need to be aware that this year it has come to us to police ourselves more closely than in years past. The City and French Quarter residents and businesses have asked for years that we stop public sex in the streets. Now there is a jail sentence connected to public sex, and most GLBT locals will not be affected because drunk or sober, this is our home. We respect it.
The Mayorís Advisory Committee has been asked to take a forward role in policing SD. There will be Gay members of the community in streets to protect you from spending time in jail or time on video.
Video is no longer our friend. It took a long, hard day of filming for Grant Storm to video tape couples having sex in public last year, and turning it into a weapon against our community. We do have some suggestions on how to handle these so-called Christians that practice hatred, intolerance and would see our festival stopped.
Know the difference between the Christian hate group and your Gay Christian brothers and sisters. Gay Christians are taking to the street to protect you. Gay individuals will be policing the streets to remind you to have sexual fun, privately. Last year, 99% of the arrests were tourists who wrongly believed that they could come to our home and act like dogs in heat on the street.
Educate your out of town friends and visitors to control their activities. Please, do not confront the hate driven religious antigay bigots that will be hounding us. Walk away from them, laugh at them but do not talk to them and do not for any reason argue with them. DO call the police if you are being harassed. The NOPD (New Orleans Police Department) has promised us protection as long as we do not break the law.
It is our obligation to ourselves, our Gay community and our City, to stop activities that we know will get us in trouble once the trouble makers are gone. Some call this the Gay Mardi Gras, a time for celebration, a festival of love and fun, and SD is all that. Iíve supported and enjoyed SD from the parade to the Ambush balcony for many years. I love the fact that when a hateful straight man tried to stop Southern Decadence several years ago by claiming to own the name, Rip Naquin registered and paid for the name for the Gay community so that it could not be taken from us.
I love the fact that rain or shine, young or old, our beautiful Gay community comes together to revel in being itself. It is not truly representative of our entire community. Many Gay people take this time to travel and separate themselves from the craziness of noise and crowds. But it is ours, and we must take responsibility to protect our guests when they are just to stupid with drink to protect themselves and our home. Please, be a part of the solution.
Remember, it is illegal to ask people to bare their bodies. We are being watched, filmed and teased into letting it all hang out. We need to make an effort to disappoint the hysterical religious abusers by not giving them anything to record. The bars have promised full cooperation with the Mayorís office and the NOPD to make this another great year but with less tolerance for law breakers.
If you see me on the street and doubtless you will, donít forget what this party is all about ó my birthday. Iím getting just a little annoyed with SD stealing my thunder. With my new found enjoyment of the Leather community, there is no telling what Iíll show up in.
If you are into more celestial sights, look up to the heavens for a view of the planet Mars. It is promised to be very close to our moon during SD, and quite a beautiful vision. If beautiful is what you are into, the Lords of Leather will be showing off visible moons the Saturday night before SD at Cowpokes during the Mr. Louisiana Leather Contest. I am going to cheer on my Marigny Leather partner, Ben, who I believe will eclipse the competition.
Have a fun and safe Southern Decadence.
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