To celebrate IDAHO 2012, Polari Magazine is publishing stories from its writers about their experiences of homophobia and transphobia. Some tales are funny, some are shocking and some are sad.
In this story Bryon Fear, Polari‘s designer, writes about a drag queen who stood up to a preacher.
Back in the day, when the queers still marched at Gay Pride instead of just getting pissed on Old Compton Street, you would often encounter a few homophobes along the route shouting their hateful bile at the passing throng. In 1996 I distinctly remember one such protestor who’d taken up a prime position on the corner of Trafalgar Square, perched atop a soap box – no, really! – to preach to the rainbow masses as they passed before him. His presence was naturally causing quite a stir and his pseudo-missionary rhetoric was merely whipping up the tinselled boys and girls into frenzied displays of public affection and prompted many an arse to be mooned in his direction.
“Repent! Repent sinner or you shall surely burn in the stinking sulphur pits of hell!”, he spat at me as I approached his pitch. I remember trying to think of something witty or political to shout back when suddenly I was flanked by a glorious vision in red rubber: a warrior angel in a cascading silky blonde wig and 12 inch platform scarlet stilettos. Pamela Anderson had come to defend me! I knew it was Pammy, because she bore a stencilled-on Barb Wire tattoo down her immaculately Immac’d right arm. She arched a perfect eyebrow and looked the preacher in the eye, her pursed and glossed lips signalling he was in danger.
“Don’t…”, she said raising a swaying index talon, “call me babe!”
Foolishly the street preacher took no heed and attempted to continue his diatribe. Pammy flicked her golden tresses, pulled herself up to her full height, and with an intake of breath managed to swell her already impressive chest to titan proportions. In her heels she seemed to tower over this silly small man on his soapbox, her poise halting the surging marchers as they sensed the confrontation. “I said… Don’t… call me… BABE!”
And in a flash, before he had chance to utter another word, Pammy had raised an impressive two foot, neon-plastic supersoaker, pumped it, and unleashed its full force, time after time, into his pinched beetroot face, all the while repeating her mantra, “Don’t call me Babe!”.
Cheers, whistles and catcalls erupted and I laughed until I cried. Sharply turning on her heels she briefly acknowledged her adoring masses, and with a wink, unloaded a cheeky round in my face before strutting her way down Whitehall. I watched in awe as she sashayed into the distance towards Parliament Square and I turned to see the street preacher, no longer on his box, but spitting water with distaste into the gutter. I smiled. The march was more than just a display of our collective pride; it was also a display of defiance: a defiance that declared that homophobia would no longer be tolerated.