BY PETER KRANZ
If you want to experience it for yourself, you could do worse than visit some of the late-night discos, clubs and drinking establishments, some of which manage to stay open until late in the morning - despite licensing restrictions.
Best to go with some local friends. Luckily I had a few ex-Simbu rugby players and a raskol or two to chaperone me on such outings.
The Shady Rest Hotel was close to where I lived, so my wife and I occasionally wandered down there on a Saturday night looking for entertainment.
One such weekend we stumbled across the famous Gay Night - a beauty contest for cross-dressers, aspiring transvestites and gays. Somewhat to my shock, and feeling like a fish out of water, I was asked to be one of the judges.
The contestants paraded in front of the appreciative audience in a variety of gorgeous costumes, performed various dances and acts (quite decent I add) and then waltzed around the judges to be scored.
The variety and creativity of the costumes was amazing, considering they must have been put together on a shoe-string budget but worthy of the Sydney Mardi Gras.
It was difficult to make a judgment based on the various parameters we were given by the organisers: poise, beauty, costume and dance movements were some I remember.
I was offered a discreet bribe by some of the contestants and their fans - which kept me in free beer for the evening!
The music was loud, mostly 80's style disco, and the judges were encouraged to try a few dance moves with the contestants. (I got a few cheers, mostly out of politeness).
We judges saw all the beauties strutting their stuff most professionally, conferred earnestly and totted up the scores.
Then it all melted into a retro disco evening - complete with revolving glitter-ball and some great dancing.
Gay Night is usually frequented by local celebrities - singers, sports stars, politicians and media personalities.
An evening not to be missed.