Outrageous or Courageous?

Title (as given to the record by the creator):  Outrageous or Courageous?
Date(s) of creation:  Issue 4: October 1995
Creator / author / publisher: Marilyn Kalman, Carol Squires, FaT GiRL
Physical description:
Two pages of text and photos
Reference #: FG4-016-017-Outrageous
Links:  [ PDF ]

Outrageous or Courageous?

By Marilyn Kalman

Photos by Carol Squires


Let lt All Hang Out (LIAHO) did a fat dyke pride float in the “Parade” this year … that is, the 1995 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration. It was the second time we did it and the second time we won an award for our float entry in the category of “Most Outrageous.” The awards are given by judges from the Cable Car Awards, Inc., an officious body that presides over the Bay Area’s lesbian and gay com­munities, determining annually who are the most meritorious among us. I really don’t know much about this group … who makes up the cast of characters, how did they get to be who they are, etc.? I do know that every year they have some Queer Academy Award scene where you pay a lot of money to get in and they give out awards. Cable Car, as part of its award-giving duties, decides who the most shining entries are in the Parade. 

Well, when we won the Most Outrageous Award the first time in 1992, we all had mixed feelings about it, but for the most part were quite pleased. After all it’s recognition for hard work. But what was so outrageous??? There was a centerpiece: a large wooden triangle painted pink with two embracing fat women painted on it. There were also fat women sitting and dancing around the float, some scantily clad, but no one even naked. It should be noted that when the awards were presented no one notified us where the ceremony was being held. There were lots of unre- turned phone calls, etc. I had to think maybe they were trying to avoid us. So this year, again the float was pretty benign. OK, there was a huge centerpiece; this time it was a 3-D sculpture of two fat women, each about five feet wide and six feet high (just torsos). They were both naked, one standing behind the other. The one in the back was cupping the breast of the one in the front. It was pretty erotic, but outrageous again? Don’t they have any other way to describe us? What makes us outrageous … it wouldn’t be that we’re fat?! 

All right … let’s take a look at this word “outrageous.” Webster’s 1984 Dictionary defines it as: “exceeding the bounds of what is right and proper ( synonyms: atrocious, flagrant, heinous, monstrous, scandalous, shocking”). I thought maybe Webster’s 1984 edition was a bit dated, so I took a look at the thesaurus of Word Perfect 5.1: “disgraceful, insult­ing, intolerable, offensive, scandalous, abominable, atro­cious, heinous, horri­fying, monstrous, excessive, extreme, exorbitant, flagrant.” The antonyms they pro­vide are: “acceptable, humane, moderate.”  (We’re the opposite of humane?) 

OK, so we don’t always go by the book and the mixed part of it is that “outrageous” clearly has positive connotations, like: flying in the face of the norm; stepping outside the bounds of conformity; being really different, exciting, unusual, and good. All those things fit if you’re a fat dyke and you’re proud of who you are, you think you and your friends are beautiful and hot, you think you’re entitled to human rights, and you want to present this very positive, confident self-image to the world. 

On the other hand, it should be noted that every other category of award for the parade entrants was prefaced as “outstanding” (e.g., Outstanding Out­-of-Town Float, Outstanding Marching Unit, Outstanding Inspirational Entry, etc … ) The Board of Directors of Cable Car Awards, Inc. also announced that KOFY-TV20 would receive a special award for its premiere TV coverage of 

the parade. (They just happened to go to commercial break when our float passed by, but who’s counting?) 

So why do the pillars of the lesbian/ gay communities find us outrageous instead of out­standing? The answer has got to be because we’re fat. We’re just so wild to be out there in lace tights and leather corsets, letting the world see our bodies. 

When it comes down to it, I’m glad we got the award. The whole point of the float is to cre­ate fat dyke positive visibility (besides the rush and all the fun we have doing it). The parade gives us a tremendous amount of exposure and it’s just too good to see all these fat women, standing in the side-lines with beaming faces as we go by. I have to add that the response from the crowd in general, both times, was great. Given this fat-phobic society we live in – that does every­thing to destroy our sense of self worth – what is done by FaT GiRL, Fat Lip, and LlAHO, as well as all the other fat women (indi­viduals and groups) who say “fuck you” to that oppressive bullshit. .. is beyond outra­geous .. .it’s outstanding, courageous, and downright revolutionary.

Let It All Hang Out (LIAHO) is a loose-knit group of fat dykes who get together periodically to make a fat dyke scene. LIAHO got started early in the summer of 1989, when a letter,writing fatphobe got published in a San Francisco lesbian/gay newspaper. She wrote about how appalled she was to see fat, hairy dykes (wearing next to nothing) and their friends get together for a big street party at the corner of 17th and Castro in San Francisco. Then in 1992, LIAHO had a float in the Pride Parade. In 1995 we sponsored a fat dyke prom, a bake sale in the Castro, and did another float. What’s next? Perhaps a fat dyke New Year’s Eve dance? We’re also talking about doing protests against part of the diet industry. Interested? Drop us a note: LIAHO PO Box 27206 Oakland, CA 94602 ]

[ID: A photo of a hedge with big letters attached spelling out FAT DYKE PRIDE.]

[ID: A photo of a superfat white jewish butch dyke standing next to (and shorter than) a papier mache sculpture of two fat women with heads, arms and torsos, naked, one embracing the other from behind and fondling her nipple. Label says Marilyn Kalman, photo by Susan Goldberg.]

[ID: A photo of a white fat dyke with short gray hair sitting in a motorized wheelchair. She is smiling big, is dressed up in white pants and an ornate vest, and has flowers behind her. Label says Peni.]

[ID: A photo of two white fat dykes seated next to a giant papier mache sculpture of two fat women with heads, arms and torsos, naked, one embracing the other from behind and fondling her nipple. The women seated next to it are mimicking the pose of the sculpture and laughing. Behind them people are milling about in an open square area. Label says Carol and Betty.]

[ID: A photo of a fat femme in a flouncy skirt, bustier and a boa, seated in the sun. Behind her is a bus stops and people are milling around. Label says Priscilla.]

[ID: A photo of two fat Jewish femme dykes outside, leaning into each other. They are both wearing thin-strapped tops, showing cleavage, and smiling. Label says Susan and LynnEllen (who’s available).]