Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ungowa Queer Black (and Brown) Power!

So, this last weekend, thanks in large part to the generosity of a lovely friend of mine, I was able to attend, for the first, time the Fire Island Black Out Party (FIBO). For all y'all that don't know, Fire Island is off the coast of Long Island and is a miles and miles long sand bar in the bay (or it might be the sound...lord if I know and I am too lazy to Google it). The island has been famous for nearly fifty years for being THE Mecca for the queer community. P-Town is Miss Congeniality but The Pines and Cherry Grove take first and second on that particular list. The Pines is generally where the boys hang out and has magnificent mansions and you can smell the ducats in the air. The Grove est une pue demurre in comparison but is still stunning with more than one dyke with dollars prancing about in this or that.

On one weekend each year, which up until this year coincided with Black Pride in NYC, FIBO takes place in Cherry Grove and quite literally thousands and thousands of largely black and Latin@ folks from all across the country descend on this little piece of sand in the water for three days of sun, sand, dancing and shenanigans.

The things I saw on the beach liked to make be howl. (for example...technically it was a nude beach but the one person that exercised the full nude option was this not-so-lovely white man that would then walk up to groups of black men and get an erection...I was like....if you can't control it...PUT IT AWAY!). Then there was the black twink that had a bathing suit with a mesh bubble in the crotch for his dick and balls while covering the rest of him...that was even worse than Le Nude Whitey.

But other than the now and again moments of utter insanity, the weekend was one of laughter with new and old friends, so much joy, and so much pride in the beauty, diversity, power, and love of the Black and Latin@ community, especially with all of us all together celebrating our sexuality, our cultural expressions, and our love for our fellow queer folks.

And like in many queer settings the men and women (and trans folks) were together. I can't remember, and so I won't attribute exactly the paraphrase but one of the black women elder lesbians said (might of been Barbara Smith, might have been Mandy Carter, but I can't remember at the moment), "we as women of color can't afford to leave men of color behind."

This weekend, to be with an entire group of stunning and powerful women of color (shout out to Jaael, Sondra, Selena, Arti, Sam, and Nadia  (with a guest appearance by our token white girl Di), and to find so many other groups of friends, queer/trans men and women together, gave me some hope for our community---particularly as people of color doing the work and struggling together---that feminism is going to will out and the recognition of our survival is contingent on the dismantling of the barriers that sexism has created between our family. Women of color would have been justified in leaving their men behind and going on and being the bright candles that they are...but they chose to reach out and drag us along...sometimes by smacking us upside the head the entire way.

FIBO for me was not about the partying as much as it was about being in community, meeting the black neurosurgeon from Columbia Presbyterian, the chief legal advisor to the Detroit City Council--also a black man--the investment banker women, the British Indian actor (what what Arti), the school teacher, the dancer, a banker that finances public housing projects, and so on and so forth. We gonna be alright.

But not to dismiss the party; what better way to build community than butt shaking throw downs that bring folk together to share in the bright diversity of our music, language, and joy?

Thanks for the love and good times my FIBO crew and here's to next year!

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