On a hot June afternoon at the Indianapolis Pride Festivities, an unlikely alliance emerged from the endless throngs of rainbow-decked spectators. At a little booth tucked away in the back, the members of the Indianapolis Socialist Party were passing out literature to the crowd, trying to convince the people that the Socialist Party was the one party above all that was fighting for true equality and liberation for LGBT Hoosiers.
Another group was making their rounds as well; they were decked out to the nines in full freak glory, hot and sweaty from marching the parade. They weren’t trying to convince the people of queer revolution, at least not politically, they were trying to convince people to come out at the stroke of midnight and celebrate liberty in the warm glow of the movie stage. That group was Transylvanian Lip Treatment, the Indianapolis Rocky Horror Shadow Cast.
The two groups met, not quite by chance, one of the members of Transylvanian Lip Treatment was also a member of the Indy Socialist Party and offered to help out at the table.
The Revolution may have taken a turn.
So what is the connection between the Indianapolis Socialist Party and Transylvanian Lip Treatment? Why would these two groups meet and unofficially embrace in a show of queer solidarity?
Surprising to most, they have a lot in common; Transylvanian Lip Treatment consists mainly of young people who regularly engage in breaking taboos both on stage and off stage, exploring ideas of sexuality and gender as part of their daily lives. And politically speaking, even though as a group, they aren’t committed to any specific political ideology (save for LGBT equality) most of the members are left-leaning in their political views, and several are strong union members (the United Food and Commercial Workers (UCFW) and Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) are two unions found amongst members of TLT).
Now compare that to the Indianapolis Socialist Party and you’ll find a lot of the same things; the local branch is attracting a growing younger demographic, the local is currently lead by young radical queer woman by the name of Audrey Bee. And while the Indianapolis Socialist Party is certainly more focused on political revolution, they still embrace the weirder side of culture, supporting poetry, art, and the smashing of societal taboos.
But the strongest bond between the groups is how they approach the current trends within the LGBT movement. Rather than embracing the corporate sponsorship that has become an epidemic within the wider movement or embracing the increasingly watered-down mainstreaming of the LGBT culture, both groups operate independently and on their own terms, neither group is afraid to challenge the norms of LGBT America or their attempts to cater to Main Street USA.
So ultimately, what does this mean? I think the unofficial alliance between the groups is very beneficial for the local LGBT movement here in Indianapolis and maybe even for the LGBT movement nationwide. Transylvanian Lip Treatment stands as one of the few truly queer spaces in Indianapolis, a place where you can fly whatever flag you want and celebrate your queerness openly without worrying about conforming to mainstream LGBT standards. That is a vital service for the members of the cast, most of whom are young working class queers who need a space to let their hair down to preserve their sanity after weeks of dead-end job drudgery. The Indianapolis Socialist Party offers an alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties and a vision of liberation for queers and working class people. That is a vital service for those out there who are tired of being screwed over by the corporate interests of both big parties.
Transylvanian Lip Treatment is a social revolution. The Indianapolis Socialist Party is a political revolution. Why not have a little meshing between the two?
C’mon, comrades! Let’s dance on the picket lines in our six-inch high heels and strike a blow for the working class and rock n’ roll!