Enough vitriol and bitterness, there are many sweet, ecstatic moments in this old bugger's long travail. Though can you blame me for being a twisted sister, not only my life's work has gotten written out of legitimised histories, my very soul got sullied growing up as a homosexual in the fifties, sixties and seventies when me and mine were criminalised, made to seek out each other in toilets and dark parks, chased by cops and poofter bashers, denied good careers, safe abodes and worst of all, sustainable lovers.
And so in my looming dotage I decided to join MAG, mature aged gays, here in Sydney, a club of my peers who had survived the pogroms and fought the battles for equal rights and human dignity. It's wonderful in life, even in old age, to make new friends, and one such, Brian, encouraged to come along to the twice monthly meetings, where encouraging talks are given and a light meal is shared. When I first turned up I looked around at all the old queens, doddering about, pompadour hairdos above rheumy eyes, backs hunched and creaking along on walking sticks, wigs like dead cats and some looking like they'll keel over dead at any moment, and I thought, "What am I doing here? I don't belong with these camp old dags, I'm hip, I'm world traveled, I'm a happening artist." Then I realised if I looked in a mirror I wouldn't be so different, just another wrinkled, grey old poof whom society had tried to cast aside but who had the strength to get on top of the antipathetic tsunami, surf it, survive it, just like all my fellows at MAGs.
I'd joined late in the game, it has been going for twenty years, and politics has crept in and tarnished it's edges, MAG can't afford to go it alone and has to go under the aegis of ACON, health department bureaucrats who thru youth and careerism have little in common with us oldies, political correctness ever the watchword which often dampens the fun of proceedings. No naughty pictures on the WEB site, and as an all male domain a woman has to be present at every meeting to alleviate the gender bias. But the gang cruises along regardless and off we tottered to the 2012 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, most riding in a bus, and good job too as it rained on our parade and the septuagenarians might have caught their death of cold.
I got drenched marching in front of the bus, dressed like a dag in white shirt and silver lame vest, waving a cerise tinsel doodad. But oh how high I got storming up the golden mile, thousands of people screaming, whistling, cheering, hooting, I laughed with elation, white haired and proud to be a grey warrior, the advance-guard of the sexual-liberation movement. At the same time I felt intensely embarrassed, all those fucking eyes upon me in my crappy silver vest, me daring the world to shower opprobrium upon a sexually active old age pensioner! I noticed the young queens marching around me, dressed like harem princesses, beautiful and haughty, their eyes sliding off me as they took in my age, but they wouldn't be there so free to flaunt their naked twats if it wasn't for my brave kind, (I was after all one of the gutsy 300 who went on the first Gay Lib march way back in 1978 where we got the shit kicked out of us in Taylor Square by the cops.)
I've been in that parade in all variations, walking, dancing, sitting, pushing the gay disabled in a wheelchair, even riding in my own float, and tonight was another joy, to be old, to be happy, to have contributed, to be accomplished, yeah life can sometimes be grand, scintillating even. I know I've railed against the GLBT Mardi Gras previously, that's because it's been long overtaken by power-mongers, money-grubbers and star-fuckers, and oh yeah, heterosexuals, it's not even to have the GLBT title anymore, and then there was my ire over my friend getting punched in the guts a few years ago by a security guard for daring to peep over the VIP fence. But I really wanted to march with the oldies, to show the screaming hordes we were still around, that "we are the champions"and it sure was a buzz.