Hello and welcome! How could I not do a post about the Queer Holiday™? I’m going to hand this over to someone who probably knows this stuff better than I do. Yes, we have a guest today!
Hello there, I’m Hades. Nice to meet you. *eyebrow waggle* Now… Where did Rogan leave off? Oh yes, Samhain. All Hallows Eve. Halloween. Of course, it didn’t start out as our night but we converted it and it’s been ours for the last 40 years or so. (I think it should’ve happened much earlier personally.) It’s only getting more queer! Halloween in the US has long been a day where people can dress up however they want with no judgment. Let’s go back in time and learn some things.
In 1912, on Halloween in Pittsburgh, men and women were arrested for cross-dressing. In the next couple of years, cross-dressing had become so prevalent, the police announced that they wouldn’t make any more arrests on Halloween for cross-dressing.
An annual costume contest at Cliff’s Variety Store in the Castro started in 1948. In the 1970s, the Castro was home to many men who had recently moved there then they started coming out, and drag queens started entering the costume contest at Cliff’s. That contest was stopped in 1979, because the Castro was no longer home to families, but did the party end? Of course not! The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of people who use drag and religious imagery as a form of activism, took over the celebrations and continued them until a tragic shooting in 2006.
At the same time the drag queens took over Halloween in San Francisco, there was another queer Halloween makeover happening in New York. Ralph Lee, a New York puppeteer, started off the first Village Halloween parade in 1974 which turned into the nation’s first official pride parade and has since become the largest Halloween parade in the world.
All of this contributed to Halloween becoming the (un)official holiday of the queers. It’s the one day of the year where people can go all out and do whatever they want, be as queer or camp as they want. With straight and cis people taking on drag personas, going camp on this one day, it changes things for queer people. This is an opportunity for some people to experiment with gender variance, and discover things about themselves without much judgment. Freedom of expression comes above all else, allowing us to be truly ourselves. And that is a history of queer Halloween. *finger guns*
Thank you Hades for that education! How do you feel about Halloween? If you like it, what’s your favorite thing about it? Are you dressing up? Let Hades and I know in the comments!
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