Our group of gay and transgender friends is made up of somewhere between 5 and 80 people between the ages of 12 and 90. Obviously, we’d don’t keep strict records. To be honest, we don’t know who is in the group because “in or out” are very fluid. We only know who we are in terms of doing something.
Things are coming up. Our group will help with a niece’s wedding here at the house later today. We will be doing what we are good at doing: flowers, facials, food…the other F stuff. We expect 300 to 350 for dinner tonight. Some of our group have been here since yesterday, decorating. I estimate, for this event, our group consists of a dozen or so…could be more by tonight.
The annual Loy Kratong festival of lights is next week. Our group will probably be very involved in decorating floats, as we do every year. Upwards of 100,000 people line the streets of Chiang Mai for the big parade on the final night. We’ll have a community party in our village, too, and part of our group usually helps run things out here.
The next big event is my spouse’s birthday. Pramote will be 50 on 12/12/12. Most of our group are coming, maybe up to 50, including neighbors and kinfolks. You are invited. Seriously. Just let me know. That may turn out to be our group’s big event of the season.
Christmas is coming next after that. Every year Pramote and I have a Christmas party at the village school. A couple of years ago we also went with a big group of Buddhist monks to have Christmas and New Year’s in a couple of ethnic Karen, Buddhist-Christian villages (see the picture to the right at the top of the page). The rest of Christmas is with family.
The main event in past years has been a New Year’s Eve count-down party and costume contest (see the picture on the left at the top of the page). We can count on about 30 or 40 of our group to come here to avoid the congestion in town, although this year some from far away may come for the birthday instead.
We are thinking about going down to Phuket after the New Year to see Nick perform in the famous Simon Cabaret Revue before they leave for a two-month-long overseas tour. He’s still one of our group even though he’s playing on a larger stage than the rest of us.
What we do, you see, is the glue that holds our group of friends together. It is how we identify ourselves.
This year I wrote a semi-fictionalized set of stories about our group, called Ban Den Friends. I’ll send you an e-mail copy if you want one (200 pages). Or you can subscribe to the on-line gay magazine OUT in Thailand and get a serialized version, coming soon.
If you do you can count yourself a part of our group, too.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.