Have the straights co-opted the gay Halloween celebration on Cedar Springs? Please say it isn’t so!
Overheard at the Halloween street party on Cedar Springs: "Someone told me this was a gay thing? Where are they?"
"They" were all around you! Or maybe not.
The annual street festival has always attracted its share of tourists. That is to be expected in a city where any kind of street life is an anomaly. What is surprising is that anyone could come to Cedar Springs and think that it was just another heterosexual neighborhood.
Maybe it’s because we have so many new residents in the city? The new urbanism has brought more than its share of former suburbanites to "Uptown" — or whatever we are calling the Oak Lawn/McKinney/Cedar Springs area now. These people arrive without a clue about how to live in an urban neighborhood, or what to expect.
Case in point is the recent move to make on-street parking for residents only in some areas of the neighborhood. Apparently, some residents are miffed that people other than them use the public streets to park their cars when visiting local entertainment venues and stores.
These people remind me of the residents who moved into apartments near Love Field a few years back and then complained to the city about the noise. I guess those airplanes flying overhead and the big airport on the map never registered with them.
Well, Cedar Springs/Oak Lawn is an entertainment district, much like Lower Greenville. It’s part of what makes the area vibrant and alive, and why the location is desirable. It’s in the city and in a "city" there is actual activity on the streets! That means occasionally having problems finding parking and dealing with a bit more noise than in the suburbs. It’s a tradeoff.
The "gay" part is what bothers me.
I guess a lot of people think all the rainbow flags are just colorful touches to the street. Maybe they only visit on Halloween and seeing drag on the street seems normal?
What surprises me is that the number of LGBT folks at the street party seems to be decreasing, or at least their percentages are. Could it be that the straight community has co-opted our Halloween?
Halloween is the second most important day in the LGBT calendar of holidays, right after Gay Pride and just before Judy Garland’s birthday. Have I not been looking close enough? Are all those guys dressed as women just straight guys in costume?
Perhaps we have assimilated so well into the mainstream culture that we are becoming invisible. The other possibility is that the new trend for straight people to consider themselves "hetroflexible" is catching on. Either way, it kind of miffs me that the gayborhood may be becoming invisible.
I understand that there will be an influx of people of all orientations during Halloween, and as many of the merchants along the strip would note, their money spends just as well as gay money. I just wonder where all the LGBT people went last Saturday? Maybe they are waiting for the "real" Halloween, not the early version.
My nagging fear is that the zaniness and outrageousness our community is noted for on All Hallows Eve might be becoming more all inclusive, or worse, a straight thing. The idea of the yearly Halloween street party somehow turning into another St. Patrick’s Day event and moving to Lower Greenville — now that’s really scary! •
Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 30, 2009.