You know, you just can't make stuff like this up, can you?
In an incident the YMCA is calling "a very regrettable scheduling error," kids arriving for an early-morning swim meet Sunday walked into a gender-bending scene of the kind most of them wouldn't be allowed to watch on TV.
Several of the kids' angry parents clashed with participants in a transgender fashion show, which had been under way at the New City YMCA since about midnight, resulting in a chaotic melee that was eventually broken up by private security guards and East Chicago District police. A YMCA member had reserved the entire facility, at 1515 N. Halsted, from 11 p.m. Saturday through 8 a.m. Sunday for a fashion show and ball, which featured cross-dressing and transgender models in a competition similar to the ones shown in the 1991 documentary "Paris Is Burning." But the facility had also been booked to host the youth swim meet, scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. Sunday. When the swimmers -- mostly elementary and junior high school-age kids -- and their parents started showing up shortly after 6 a.m., many of the parents were upset to see the "House of Escada" fashion show and dance in full swing.
"It was like they didn't want the kids to see the gay people at all," said Kashma Avery, in a recorded interview provided by WBBM-AM (780). Avery was in charge of a 13-member security detail for the ball, which he said was attended by about 400 people, most of them gay men.
Well, no, I shouldn't imagine that they did want their kids to see gay people. In drag. At 7AM. No. Although, to be fair, I would imagine that the issue was not so much the degree of gaiety as seeing men in dresses undressing in the locker rooms, which could perhaps be a tad confusing. (Even as an adult, watching a female impersonator deal with a gaff -- a variety of implements used to pull the penis and its accoutrements back between the legs and way up there yes indeedy! -- can be a tad disconcerting.)
That particular issue aside, you just have to wonder: what sort of fashion show (transgender or otherwise) takes nine freakin' hours to get through? And why would you want it to run overnight in the first place?Posted by iain at December 20, 2004 01:44 PM