The Maroon

Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

A+pair+of+revelers+walk+through+the+French+Quarter+at+Dykeadence+in+this+undated+photo.+Photo+credit%3A+Courtesy+of+Dykeadence
A pair of revelers walk through the French Quarter at Dykeadence in this undated photo. Photo credit: Courtesy of Dykeadence

A pair of revelers walk through the French Quarter at Dykeadence in this undated photo. Photo credit: Courtesy of Dykeadence

A pair of revelers walk through the French Quarter at Dykeadence in this undated photo. Photo credit: Courtesy of Dykeadence

Jules Lydon

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Each Labor Day weekend, Southern Decadence, the largest gay event in the south, commences and welcomes the gay community from around the United States and the world to New Orleans. However, the event hasn’t always been geared toward those that identify as lesbian or transgender.

Southern Dykeadence was created in 2009 as a response to the lack of diversity celebrated within Southern Decadence, which was established in the 1960s and was comprised of primarily gay men.

“Gay, white, cisgender men have typically been the face of the LGBTQIA+ community, so bringing in diverse perspectives and identities is a big step in creating a more open and inclusive queer community,” Marisa Jurczyk, LGBT activist and sophomore sociology major, said.

In 2015, analytics company Gallup found that out of every city in the country, New Orleans had the fourth-largest gay population (5.1 percent). Last year, Southern Decadence broke all previous attendance records with over 200,000 attendees and brought an estimated $250 million into the city, according to the official Decadence page and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Even though Decadence is in its 46th year and is now the fifth-largest annual event, standing in line with the likes of Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Essence Festival and French Quarter Festival, many members of the larger LGBT community felt that the celebration needed to include a more diverse cast of LGBT community members.

Similar to its male-centric counterpart, Dykeadence started as a small, grassroots celebration. With a dedicated group of 300 people, Dykeadence has grown to include and provide a space for more than 1,000 men and women. Their annual party during the Dykeadence festivities, Fleurt, has gained national recognition and has grown into one of the largest lesbian events in the south. This growth will be visible once the festivities begin on Aug. 30 and continue until Sept. 4, but it fills a need larger than a six-day festival.

Despite its large and vibrant LGBT community, New Orleans lacks regular and consistent spaces for people who identify as lesbian and transgender to gather.

Prior to its closing in 1999, Charlene’s was a bar where community members met to plan and enact legislation affecting LGBT people, including writing the first New Orleans Gay Rights Ordinance. Today, Charlene’s, along with all of its sister bars, are gone.

“The majority of the time, when something is labeled LGBTQ+ in New Orleans, the reality is that it’s actually only for certain kinds of gay men. And if you’re not in that population, there’s nothing for you. Which is why spaces like Dykeadence are so important — they give voices to people who feel rejected from the mainstream, male-centric events,” Kourtney Baker, recent Loyola graduate and LGBT advocate, said.

Dykeadence events start during Decadence this Labor Day weekend from Thursday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 4. Groups representing Dykeadence will also walk in a Decadence parade on Sunday, Sept. 3.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club”

  1. Tommy Townsend on August 24th, 2017 1:58 am

    It’s really too bad that Marisa Jurczyk and Kourtney Baker feel they need to label and diminish one population within the LGBTQIA, while supposedly seeking inclusion and support for others. I guess I’m guilty of being a “certain kind of gay man”, since I’m “gay, white, cisgender”. Am I supposed to apologize for the way I was born? Don’t hold your breath.
    I’ve attended Decadence for years and have never sensed any attempt from anyone to exclude ANYONE…quite the opposite. Are there more gay men than lesbians? Yes. Are there more gay men than transgender? I didn’t take a poll, but probably. Yes. Are there more gay men than bisexuals? Yes. That doesn’t mean that those same gay men are “rejecting” anyone from the party. Trust me…when 200,000 lesbian, transgender, questioning, intersex or asexual individuals show up at Decadence, events will be created for you and about you. Until then, join the party! Decadence belongs to everyone! And hey, if it’s still not your thing…start another event. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

  2. Marisa Jurczyk on August 25th, 2017 11:32 pm

    Hi Tommy – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think it’s important to keep this topic (and others) a conversation and not a lecture, so I appreciate you sharing your perspective.

    I, personally, have nothing against white, gay, cisgender men — in fact, many of my best friends hold these identities. But from my perspective, the problem is not that we have white, gay, cisgender men, but rather that we don’t have enough representation of other identities. The LGBTQIA+ community is supposed to be welcoming to all sexualities and genders (and races), so you’re not meant to be called out or excluded for who you are. Instead, this is calling in others who have historically been excluded and calling for those with privilege to actively participate in this calling in process.

    While Decadence and other LGBTQIA+ events aren’t excluding women, transgender people, and people of color in writing, these groups still face challenges in queer spaces. Representation is one; many people come to Decadence to be in a community of people with similar experiences, to not be “the token gay” in a group. When the majority of people at these events, though, are of the same identities, though, it defeats the purpose of the space for other groups in that way. The other problem is that, in predominantly white, male, cisgender spaces, marginalized groups often have to confront racism, sexism, and bigotry against trans people in what is supposed to be a “safe space”, if you will. Trans people may find that they’re misgendered or downright invalidated at these events, people of color may experience microaggressions, and women are often catcalled or otherwise mistreated, particularly by straight male “allies” who come with their gay friends. So, by bringing people with marginalized identities into both the leadership and the general population of these events, it creates a more inclusive environment for these folks.

    There’s lots more to say than can fit in a simple comment or quote, so if you’d like to discuss further, please feel free to reach out to me via Facebook or email, and I’d be happy to continue our conversation.

  3. Rae Ann DiMaggio on August 31st, 2017 5:27 pm

    This is pure hell. To put this on a supposed Catholic University’s site is counter to what the Bible says

  4. Rae Ann DiMaggio on September 5th, 2017 5:04 pm

    Is that because I do not agree with Loyola?

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    City

    Locals find treasure -and trash- in Lake Pontchartrain

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Leisure

    Gallery: Fall Break expectations in Southern Louisiana

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Food

    Column: My favorite breakfast spot near campus

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Leisure

    Salsa Bachata fest puts NOLA on its feet

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Food

    Freret Street kicks off festival season

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Columns

    Column: How to do Mardi Gras the right way

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Leisure

    Sugar-powdered goodness meets good will at Beignet Fest

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Leisure

    Watch: Holy Name of Jesus school celebrates annual ‘Gator Fest’

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Food

    Watch: Oak Street Po-Boy Festival draws thousands Uptown

  • Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club

    Leisure

    Indian Festival of Lights to shine in New Orleans

Navigate Right
Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola
Decadence no longer a ‘boys’ club