Sunday, June 21, 2009
A lot of the women from the Eskalera Karakola are lesbians---or bi, or trans, or otherwise queer--and many are immigrants. The Sunday brunch often turns into a discussion of various forms of discrimination these women experience, at work, in the street, and in the gay community. The term "gay pride" is particularly controversial, in part because "gay" conceals lesbian presence, and in part because, for most of these women, pride has never really been the issue so much as basic rights and dignity. Most have been victims of hate crimes, some have lost friends, and, as much in Spain as in their home countries, many have lost jobs. Since Spain allows gay marriage, facilitating gay migration, it is seen as a hub of gay culture; the Pride celebrations here attract zillions of tourists from all over the world.
The mainstream pride celebrations are mostly held in Chueca, the (expensive and male-dominated) so-called "gay" district of Madrid. My wonderful abundant Asor made the poster above to advertise various alternative activities the Ekka and others have organized: lectures, marches, fundraiser concerts and discussions focusing on the plight of immigrants and other otherized minorites. I've been participating as much as I can in these last few packed packing days--saw Asor and Camila speak, saw some legendary women rappers at a squat in a graaaaveyard, hoo, and have littered my neighborhood with propaganda.
I love the women of the Eskalera Karakola, and can't imagine this year without them. They accepted me completely, they've given me so much---many became my students, and many my friends. They're one of the biggest reasons I'm excited to come back.
When Mary Kate was here we hung out with them a lot. She was also impressed by how open and kind (and fun) they were--how the Brunch was truly a social space for women, not a cruise bar or a cult. We all went to see Clara in a concert in which Pedro Guerra and Ismael Serrano also played. Also a dude from my neighborhood who works in my favorite bodega.
Clara and the dude she played with:
The triumphant metro ride back--we pushed Anixua, the gorgeous Canary sexologist in the center, to get her photo taken with Pedro Guerra and Ismael Serrano like she wanted, and now she loves us very much:
The next day we celebrated Asor's birthday at a Cuban restaurant:
Anixua, Asor, Asor's childhood friend, me, Stef--Mk is taking the photo: