There are ways for this community to come together and celebrate our same-
sex preferences. And on the weekend before Halloween, a riverboat cruise
created just that space for gay and lesbian couples, for transgendered individuals, for drag queens and leather men, bears and lesbian avengers.
The riverboat Cajun Queen was the venue for this event. The cruise was an all-gay affair, which made it possible for unfettered and unrestrained demonstrations of love and affection. One female couple sat on the observation deck, wrapped in one another's arms. I approached them respectfully and asked if they were enjoying the ride. Their faces beamed as they smiled dreamy smiles-this was wonderfully romantic and affirming, they said, and they appreciated the safe space to express their love.
Another couple stood in the shadows of the wheelhouse, arms wrapped around one another. One of the men was dressed in a lavender velvet tuxedo; the other was dressed in tails. They were whispering to one another and and basking in the moonlight.
Inside the boat, the entertainment was in full swing. A band played on the bottom deck and a drag show was being staged simultaneously on the middle deck. The stairs were kept very busy as people hurried from one show to the next.
It was a night to remember. 400 people boarded that riverboat for the two hour cruise down the river. The day had been overcast, with rain threatening. But as the passengers boarded, the clouds broke and a full moon awaited us behind them. The moonlight sparkled on the water and nothing could have made the trip more romantic. Why not have these kinds of events for the community? Everything doesn't have to be about loud, smoky bars. And when one sees the dignity and joy expressed by the participants, one realizes that it is not just for political campaigns that we can congregate. We can gather together just to have fun.
Of course, in keeping with the generosity of our community, a portion of the proceeds were donated to a non-profit group. We just can't seem to join together without a fund raiser for an organization that needs our help.
Voodoo Dreams on the Cajun Queen was a huge success and will now become an annual event. If you missed this year's cruise, look for us again next year. Rubyfruit Jungle was proud to organize the excursion along with the help of Miller Lite, Mary Pappas, The Advocate, Ambush Mag 2000, Atlantic Records, American Airlines and le montrose suites.
We also wish to thank all the participants who came on board. The evening was much more than we ever dreamed. Everyone had a wonderful time. Rolling on the river was a lovely alternative to the usual Halloween madness.
As I stood watching the participants disembark from the boat at the end of the cruise, I was most aware of the diversity of the people who had ridden on that boat together. Once again, Rubyfruit Jungle had pulled off its philosophy with flying colors. Brothers and Sisters united-a way for the gay and lesbian community to demonstrate their importance and their economic clout.
And Speaking of colors: when I arrived at the dock, I carried with me a rainbow flag for all to see. I asked the deckhand if we might fly the flag from the flagpole. He kindly obliged as we all stood watching the gay rainbow being run up the flag pole. It was a proud moment.
The next event will take place around the holidays, so look for an announcement coming soon. Where will we go next? Why, anywhere we like.
As a side note: now that the
elections are over and it appears that Mary Landrieu is the winner, along with President Re-Elect Bill Clinton, we can only hope that the coming administration will be more responsive to our civil rights, our health care needs, and to our power as a voter base. As a community, we should recognize our power to influence the outcome of elections.
Our community is about responsibilities and freedom, fun and commitments. Our community is a mighty force when we join together and make our voices heard.