Dear GBQP community,
i feel like i am in a break up with a person i can't be with anymore. i still love them and i know i will miss them as fuck. there was a time i was so in love with them that i gained a lot of energy from that love, but now, the relationship only seems to drain me. however, this break up comes with a lot of pain, and fear of losing mutual friends, moments, memories, and other good stuff.
the genderbendingqueerparty has to end. at the moment, i am suffering from depression, brought to the surface by a burn out. the burn out part is mostly due to queer activism, with the GBQP as the most visual expression of my politics. over the years, this project became bigger and bigger, and mostly; my notion of safer clubbing and queer activism started to get bigger and bigger. I would like to elaborate on that.
when i started this party in 2014, i was an active clubber myself. I went to a lot of clubnights/parties/bars and with that, i carried my (queer, nonbinary, fat, faggy, femme, clowny) body into specific situations on which i could reflect. I started to experience a lot of errors in nightlife, the biggest one a lacking of care.
I tried to do better for myself and my friends, throwing houseparties and afterparties, and talking to people about safer spaces, party ethics and ethical use of substances. The GBQP became the biggest playground of all my ideals, a place where i could try to practice all i was preaching about. and not only could i try to make those ethics come alive during the night itself, i could also ask my friends to help me do this, and create the queer family around me i always dreamed of: the genderclowns.
I am so ffing lucky to have these clowns around me! My goddess, we had so much fun, and there was so much care and kindness, and such deep talks too!
at the same time, seeing these clowns became work. the gatherings became bigger and bigger, because the preparation of the party began to take more and more time. and as i was still the consensual ‘clownboss’, for me this meant a lot of planning and queer leadership (yes, i am adding that skill to my clownresume). being the person i am, this came with a lot of struggles about asking too much of my friends, and fear of being left behind (because in the end, i was the only one who Really Wanted this, right?--toxic thoughts!).
the night itself, i always tried to programme DJs and performers that i personally know (like my berlin friends) or feel connected to in some way. this way, the ethics of the party could be carried by a group of people who i trust to be able to hold space with the clowns.
this also meant that the party comes with hosting friends and queer family from all over europe at my house, and the houses of other clowns. which is awesome, because we can all spend time together, but it’s also stressful, because in the middle of the fun there is this party to be organized, produced and hosted. more friends over, started to become more work to be done.
also, going out is not so high on my list of hobbies anymore, because i can’t stand the lack of care in other clubs and bars without speaking up about it. I can’t stand how places exploit bodies, by making them show up and be vulnerable, without protecting them to harassment, sexism, racism and all sorts of phobia. which makes me quite the annoying clubkid to go out with...
so right now, I am starting to learn to spend time with myself and my friends and community without an agenda, without having to work all the time. that is one of the hardest things of the burn out. it feels weird, out of place, restless, it makes me feel angry, useless, sad and lonely. but i also know it is the healthiest thing to do for me right now.
‘so non, why don’t you let other people do the party then?’
well, i have tried. some of the clowns stepped up, saying they wanted the party to continue and wanted to take over productions. we tried to make that happen. we failed. because we’re clowns, but mostly, because we are all people with jobs, with lives, and because this party as it is, comes with at least 40 hrs a month unpaid labour.
so we are giving the spirit of the GBQP back to the community.
but the ethics will live on. I hope all of you will help us realize that.
*the genderclowns will stay alive and continue doing workshops, sessions of care, and awkward performances (website under construction)
**there is an awesome group of people called Queer Rotterdam ready to welcome you for all kinds of gatherings.
And in the meantime, i hope you will take care of the people next to you, be it while clubbing, demonstrating, hanging out, dating, or having sex: remember the intentions!
***Most importantly: remember to take care of YOU.
Hugs, and SEE YOU ONE MORE TIME ON THE 22ND!