Thursday, June 16, 2011

SlutWalk Season

I always love Pride Month, but this June is turning out more active and exciting than any beforehand. In addition to travels galore (to get away from the Midwestern winter's grip), Chicago's SlutWalk and Milwaukee's PrideFest were just a week apart! Both events serve as a statement of sexual freedom, from activities to identities. Both involve pride, networking, diversified unity, and a good serving of comedy. And there are those who choose to withdraw from both events, either because it's just not their cup of tea or from policy disagreements. And that's fine!

At Chicago's SlutWalk, I got a t-shirt advertising the event and its date. I wore it to Milwaukee's PrideFest, naturally. At least a dozen people, ranging from sassy queens to rough bulldykes and everyone in between, commented on it and asked me about it. All of them said that, had they known it was going on, they would have come down to march. I told them all the same: Google Milwaukee's SlutWalk and march in that one. Later, I discovered that the booth of ToolShed, Milwaukee's queer sex shop, had information on their city's upcoming SlutWalk. August 13!

You can see at where and when worldwide SlutWalks are taking place. Or you can just search online your location and "SlutWalk."
The fact that this kind of event, marching out against sexual assault and oppression, is internationally popular implies that people are ready for change. It's arguable what a few hours of marching can accomplish, true. But the eagerness to make a public statement, in the streets, across cultures and nations is suggestive of perhaps greater changes. This has coincided with the DSK scandal, for example, which many consider to be the international Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas. That scandal has brought to European cultures what Anita Hill arose in America nearly 20 years ago. Could it be that all these people around the world are sick of the silence around sexual harassment? Are people finally coming around to the idea that appearances are not invitations? Pride has loosened the connection between sexual preference and personal quality, and maybe now that concept is extending beyond the LGBTQ community.

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