It should come as a surprise to no one that my favorite thing about seeing Mala and Vega last night was Mala telling both of us that we looked like we hadn't aged a day. And it had been nearly a decade since they saw Shobhit. I last saw them November 14, 2016, when they happened to be back in town and invited some friends to hang out with them, at a place that actually wasn't that far from my home.
Trikone-NW, by the way, is a gay South Asian group Shobhit and I used to be pretty heavily involved with -- he was even on the board for a year at one point. He was marching with their contingent in Seattle Pride the very month that I first met him; we marched with them in many Prides in both Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. (and once in San Francisco) between 2004 and 2009. In fact just yesterday I posted a link to my collection of such Trikone Pride photo sets to the 20th Year Celebration Facebook page.
There used to be monthly potlucks too, for several years. I just did a bit of research and, based on my Google Calendar history and checking journal entries against scheduled potlucks, I think the last potluck we attended may also have been the one we finally hosted -- on June 14, 2008. That just happened to be also the fourth anniversary of Shobhit's and my first date.
Vega and especially Mala were instrumental in starting Trikone-NW twenty years ago, and were co-founders, beloved by countless in the group, including Shobhit and myself. Mala and Vega were brought up onstage to talk about their experiences in the early years, having been introduced by next-generation Board members who are clearly bringing the group into a new, much more organize era.
Around late 2008 and 2009, Mala and Vega had to pull back from their heavy involvement in organizing with the group, for a myriad of reasons. This had the unfortunate effect of causing a bit of a dip in the group's history, a bit of limbo. Shobhit and I did not go to as many of the events, which were very rarely held at that point. And then Mala and Vega had to move back to Maryland in 2009 to be closer to parents that needed taking care of. And then of course, in March 2010, Shobhit moved to New York, and Trikone stopped being even on my radar for the next several years.
Apparently new ranks have been coming up over the past couple of years, though, and even their website, although not quite as detailed as I would like (I'd love to see a page about Board members), indicates how much more detailed their events are than they tended to be when mostly limited to monthly potlucks in the early years. One of the Board members last night mentioned the four types of events also listed there on the website: "Trikone Meets," "Trikone Speaks," "Trikone Connects," and "Trikone Screens." Shobhit even talked with one of the Board members, who all now seem much younger than those of us from the earlier years (it existed seven years before I came along, to be fair), about maybe hosting some of these events. I think Shobhit wants to get more involved again, even though Mala and Vega no longer live here and have no direct involvement at all anymore. They just come back to visit every few years.
In any case, it was pretty fascinating to see how the group has changed since we were last much involved at all. They seem far more organized, and this event was actually ticketed at $25 a pop through Brown Paper Tickets (which is why I ate and drank as much as I could, ending the evening feeling like I usuall do after Thanksgiving). They are aslo, being led by a much younger generation, now far more entrenched in more detailed issues of social consciousness. For example, when asked to write out name tags, we were also asked to write preferred pronouns (a practice I still kind of resist, even as a gender variant person, but that may now just be because I'm old). And although the word "intersectionality" was never stated during the speeches, it was very much the overall sentiment, being conscious of it.
One of the most moving parts of the evening was, when the crowd was asked if anyone wanted to take the microphone and speak, a very young woman took it and expressed gratitude at seeing so many "older" people there. "It makes me feel like we're going to be okay," she said.
There was a spead of foods, chesse and crackers and samosas and a cauliflower dish that I was stunned I actually like, and also cupcakes. I ate way too much of all of it, probably far more even than Shobhit did.
For the last hour, there was dancing, although the sound system was terrile, the bass and beats nearly nonxistent -- you should be able to feel it as well as hear it when there's a dance floor. But, they did the best they could, and after all, this was the first Trikone event we'd ever gone to that was held in a public venue aside from a street for Pride or someone's living room. Honestly it feels like this group really has come a long way, and Shobhit and I kind of missed some key shifts in its history. It still feels pretty great to have been a notable part of its full history, though. They even had slides on a projector for a while, several of which featured Shobhit and me, from Pride events around 2004 and 2005.
In any case, you can click here for the full photo set on Flickr. I only managed about 15 shots, but I suppose the upside to that is, it won't take that long to click through.
[posted 10:41 am]