Pull up something comfortable, we'll be here a while.
We'll Have a Gay Old Time
June is my birthday month, and birthdays mean parties. When partying, there are certain essential items that no host should be without - food, drink,
enough cocaine to kill an elephant, and a piñata. If, however, you are afraid of party guests trampling the carpet, you can always head out to the bars and clubs to party there instead, as seems to be the fashion amongst the youth these days. You might have to leave the piñata at home, though - bouncers generally don't like people taking them into their clubs, although your mileage may vary so it pays to ask.
When partying, there are a variety of options from which you may take your pick. If you live out in the country, your dad's garage or wool shed will often suffice. Those in towns and regional centres may want to consider the pub, where they can usually be guaranteed a whirl on the slot machines or even the chance to make a complete turkey out of themselves by performing karaoke very badly and very drunkenly. Main cities will often have a number of fashionable clubs to choose from, where the music is played loud enough to crack the paint on the walls. But if you're in Saviso, then you've hit the jackpot - you can go to Southbank and St Kitts! You are insured, right?
Break the 'Bank before the 'Bank breaks you
Southbank and St Kitts are two of the world's most famous nightlife districts, particularly Southbank. A relatively poor and working-class industrial area in the 19th century, Southbank began to improve in the first half of the 20th century, and by the 1950s and 1960s it had become a popular place for young people to leave the squares back in suburbia (after asking father dearest very nicely if they may borrow the car for the evening) and dance to that horrendous rock-and-roll music that will certainly bring civilisation crashing down any day now, mark my words. In the '70s the discos began moving in, followed in quick succession by a variety of narcotics. These days Southbank is still the trendy place it's been for over half a century, with no sign of that abating. I chose to exhibit central Southbank at the closest possible zoom level - 19 - to show the tight concentration of nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and places where you can watch women take off their clothing. Titillating!
Oh yes, that brings me to the other reason why even a simple cane farmer in the back-blocks of Prihor knows about Southbank - it's the centre of sex in Vodeo. See, back in the day, the girls used to hang around either in the city centre around Commerce Street (nobody said the girls don't have a sense of humour), or in Port Saviso or Padina, both of which are places with lots and lots of seamen (lucky for them). But as Southbank began to emerge as the city's nightlife hub in the '70s, the sex industry soon set up shop there, too. Unlike in a number of other provinces, prostitution has never been illegal in St Austell, and so by 1978 there were more brothels in Southbank than in any other place in the country. It's dialled back a bit since then, but Madame Scarlet seems to do alright for herself. Strip clubs like Vixens and Rendezvous are Southbank institutions, and even Vodeo's most famous adult store chain, After Dark, hails from here. Southbank is also home to the Vodean Sex Museum, which contains absolutely nothing of interest whatsoever, so keep reading.
A night in Southbank is something of a rite of passage for 18-year-old St Austellian boys, and if they survive the encounter, then they can go and cool off at one of the more sedate watering holes around Spencer Street and Holdings Place. Some tend to take the idea of cooling off somewhat literally by imbibing too many intoxicating liquors and proceeding to fall into the Tahara Creek. And you thought the life preservers on Canal Street were just there for show.
Yet even with its reputation for sex, sleaze, and expensive booze, Southbank still gets more and more popular each year. The suburb is featured prominently when advertising Saviso overseas, and the night trams that service the suburb overnight (with greater frequency on Friday and Saturday nights) have their praises sung - loudly and off-key - by the good people out for some fun in the 'Bank. But Southbank isn't the only place to go for a good time - those with
morally bankrupt other ideas of a good night out might want to head south to St Kitts, where things are a little more... fabulous.
The Queen Suburb
Ah, jolly old St Kitts. An old village not much younger than Saviso itself, St Kitts sits at the junction of five main roads linking the city centre with Brigham, Enfield, Pontefract, and Fearon. For some time it was a charming little country village only a stone's throw from Saviso, but its neighbour grew, St Kitts soon found itself pulled into the city's orbit. St Kitts got by, but by the 1960s it had fallen on hard times, and the suburb was notoriously rife with crime and prostitution - both were quite often entwined. The Saviso City Council for years toyed with the idea of razing the entire junction flat and putting up flats instead, but the locals were afraid that would wipe out any remaining vestige of the St Kitts of old. St Kitts was stuck in a hopeless present with even bleaker prospects for the future, but then it happened: the coming of The Gays. (dramatic chord)
During the 1950s and 1960s, Vodeo came to terms with two earth shattering discoveries: 1. Vodeo has gay people; and 2. They were perfectly ordinary people. Revolutionary stuff, I know, but this was in a time where it was a criminal offence for men to do the do with each other (but not for women to do likewise, because such pure beings would never have base desires of that nature), and a perfectly reasonable cure was to hook them up to the national grid and flow a few volts through them at a psychiatric hospital (but more on that in a few months). This all changed with sex researcher Alastair Carbine's revolutionary 1949 book, Sex and the Modern Man, which took a purely scientific look at human sexuality and raised many eyebrows when it came out. A few countries - the FSA included - either banned it or tried to, with most deciding it the censoring was only fomenting further interest in the book and decided to just let people read it. When Carbine published Sex and the Modern Woman in 1953, the Vodean public was finally confronted with the uncomfortable fact that there were homosexuals in their midst.
While some remained steadfast in their convictions that homosexuals were just communist sympathisers looking to kill the King and destroy the Vodean state, Carbine's findings prompted others to start looking at the situation in a different light. The media, which had been vociferously anti-homosexual up to that point, began taking a more neutral stance, culminating in a landmark 1958 VBC documentary entitled The Other Folk. While homosexuality was still a crime across Vodeo, the gay community started to emerge as attitudes softened by the opening of the 1960s.
And this is where we come back to St Kitts. With the suburb not much more than a hole in the ground, the cheap rents of the area began to attract those with alternative lifestyle - not just gay people, but beatniks, hippies, and other non-conformists that didn't slot into the narrow world of Vodeo in the '60s. By the late 1960s St Kitts had developed something of a reputation as a gay neighbourhood, and yet even though the country had become more tolerant of their presence, there was still a long way to go. Police raids on bars, bath houses, and even private residences plagued the area, but since what they were doing was illegal, the gay community felt trapped.
That all changed in 1969, when Avalon broke with the rest of the country to decriminalise homosexuality. The surprising thing about it was that there hadn't been much of a campaign against the old law, it was simply decided by Avalonian lawmakers that what two people did with each other in their own home was of no concern to the government, and the police's resources were better used elsewhere. The suddenness of it all caught the community by surprise, but suddenly it was realised that change was possible. With St Kitts the hub of the community, no time was wasted in sorting out organisations and petitions demanding the decriminalisation of homosexuality both in St Austell and across Vodeo. Whereas before St Kitts had been quietly homosexual, by the end of 1969 there was no hiding it - the suburb was out and it was proud of it. It took a lot of effort, but it was all worth it when St Austell decriminalised homosexuality in 1971. The celebrations were short-lived though, since there were still seven provinces to go (Cambria having also done the same in 1971).
Now, how many of you know that space turned Vodeo gay? It's true! In the mid-1960s, the Commonwealth began sending people into space, but it wasn't until 1975 that it sent a woman up there - a Vodean by the name of Lindsay Broadwell. Lindsay's few days in space made her a national hero, and when she returned she was fêted from one end of the country to the other. But it wasn't long before she found herself drawn into the gay rights debate. You see, dear reader, Ms. Broadwell had a preference for ladies, and with gay rights being one of the biggest issues of the decade, she decided she couldn't keep it to herself any longer, and in early 1976 came out to the public, the first prominent Vodean woman to do so. The country was immediately polarised - her supporters admired her bravery and felt having such a prominent face for the movement would give it legitimacy; her detractors were disgusted that she was a lesbian in the first place, and saw her as using her fame for political purposes. Many a letter was written to newspapers and magazines, many for her, and many against, and yet her fortitude and support for the movement never wavered in the slightest. Her efforts are credited in a large part with Parliament's decision in 1978 to do away with the criminalisation of homosexuality, and with Royal Assent given a few months later, she was immortalised as a national icon.
She was also immortalised in bronze, as it turned out. A statue of her was erected in St Kitts in 1988, appropriately in a park beside the junction that was renamed in her honour at the same time. Broadwell Square is the end point of the Saviso pride parade, held each February, but it's not like St Kitts ever needs an excuse to get its rainbow flags out. When Parliament met in 2012 to decide on allowing same-sex marriage, traffic was blocked off and a giant screen and speakers set up in the junction to cover the vote. When the final tally was read out in favour of the bill, confetti cannons blasted out all the colours of the rainbow, and there was singing and dancing and much gaiety of both kinds. And there on the stage was Lindsay Broadwell, a little older and greyer than she was in 1978, but no less fiery and certainly no less gay. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the fifth anniversary of the arrival same-sex marriage (on January 1, 2013), so you can bet that the confetti cannons are back out in force this year.
Pride and no prejudice
What a whopping great entry that was. St Kitts was a little project I set myself for Pride Month - admittedly I'd have liked to have mapped more of the suburb, but I'm glad it's finally on the map in some form. In a way, St Kitts is a gift to all of my rainbow friends around the world, some of whom know who they are and some who are still finding out. A little piece of the world where it doesn't matter who or what you are, because St Kitts loves everyone. From a close-minded society to one that embraces all kinds in just 60 years - not bad, Vodeo, not bad at all. Happy Pride Month, everyone! 🏳🌈
Comments go down here
Love the idea, well-written post, it's a great way to celebrate Pride Month. I do think Broadwell Junction deserves a bit more detail though (the literal intersection, it'd be great to see turning lanes and stuff.) Stay tuned for late July, as we get queer in Odrava. 🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🏳️🌈 --Eklas (talk) 20:15, 30 June 2018 (CEST)
Now you've gone and raised the bar on us! Apart from the very (very!) small gay village in Williamsdene, I haven't done much in this area. Time for little Little Boho to get a gay-over! --Turnsole80 (talk) 01:01, 4 July 2018 (CEST)