Wow! I must confess I did something quite different this past weekend, and I not only had an absolutely fabulous time but it was also some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
Again, no names, but a few weeks ago I met a few guys here in Cluj-Napoca who were the first openly gay men that I’ve met in years. You might remember my post Gay Baby Panic in Timisoara, which highlights some of the intolerance and prejudiced attitudes here in Romania. In fact, I remember years ago on a (Romanian) dating website I had to choose my sexual orientation as being either gay or “normal”. Literally that’s how a lot of people still describe it.
So to meet some openly gay men was quite interesting and I truly admire their courage for being able to live “out of the closet” in this society. That fact aside, a couple of them were cool people and we developed a friendship and drank a few beers together and talked about all the things everyone talks about.
Long story short, last weekend they invited me to check out the gay nightlife scene. Wow! Now I know a lot of you might be wondering what occurred there, did I get assaulted, groped, molested or in any other way “violated” :P No, I did not. Everyone there was super nice and friendly. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a friendlier, nicer group of people in any club in all the years I’ve been going out in Romania.
The music was bumping, the DJ was on fire, the laser lights were dipping and swirling, and everyone had a fabulous time. I saw two straight girls surrounded by about 10 of their gay (male) friends, everyone laughing and dancing and just having a blast. A couple of guys (whom I didn’t know previously) came up to me and started chatting and one guy was giving me a huge thumbs up – honestly, I’ve never felt more attractive in my life :)
Near the end of the night, a couple of guys came in, both of them dressed up as women, one of them wearing fabulous high heels and a shimmering blonde wig. And I was laughing super hard as we started talking, me saying saru’mana and the whole nine yards. Just amazingly awesome to me that there are people out there who can be themselves, despite the obvious hostility and prejudice against them, and that they have a couple of clubs where they can dance and have fun and not have to worry about anything.
So there you go – your steadfast correspondent (me) stepped off the beaten path and went yet again to places where few others dare to tread (you might remember my trip to a manele club). I certainly can’t speak for other cities (besides Bucharest) but the gay nightlife scene is alive and doing well here in the unicorn dust infused metropolis of Cluj-Napoca!
I didn’t take any pictures out of respect for the privacy of the people there, but I am hereby linking to a wonderful YouTube video which I really like. The singer is a Lebanese woman named Haifa Wehbe (and SHE is absolutely fabulous) and the song is called “Ana Adra Eish”, which if you watch the video you’ll immediately recognize as the Arabic for “I Will Survive”, as the song is a cover of the classic Gloria Gaynor song, much beloved by gay people around the world.
Furthermore, the link goes to her performance in Morocco for “le Concert pour la Tolerance”, which you don’t need to speak French to parse that it was an event to promote tolerance and understanding of people of different lifestyles and orientations. So while she’s doing her thing to promote tolerance in the Arab world, I am doing my small part to do the same here in Romania. So great to see those thousands of faces in the crowd cheering her on :)
VIVE LE DIFFERENCE!
Oh and interestingly enough, I got to speak Italian for the first time in years, so that was cool :)