So I marched in my first gay march yesterday. I've been to Pride before and never really felt like marching in a Pride parade. Sure I'm out and proud, but marching really isn't my thing. But on Saturday I took part in the National Day Of Protest against Prop 8 and for gay marriage.
Saturday AM, I hit the CVS and bought a poster board and some markers so I could make my own poster. In my not so great handwriting I wrote, "Equal Rights For All. Fight Hate." And then Museum Man and I took the metro down to the Mall. We got off the metro at the Smithsonian stop and then walked the rest of the way down the mall, and I was carrying the sign so everyone could read it. As we made our way to the reflecting pool, I could see the crowd that was starting to form there. We finally made our way there and kind of blended into the crowd. It was really an interesting experience. A very great, positive vibe. A little disorganized to be honest, but there was something real, and hopeful, about it. Lots of great signs. The gays are pretty funny. But the crowd wasn't just gays and lesbians. There were tons of people (I've heard 3000) there, gay, straight, black, white, young, old, etc. It was really amazing. So techincally it wasn't really a gay march. It was a march for equality.
After some cheers and some speeches, we started to walk down the mall. While the weather had been warm and partly sunny earlier, big heavy darks clouds had rolled in. But still we marched. Down the south side of the Mall towards the Washington Monument. Carrying my sign, I jointed in the cheers. "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Prop 8 Has Got to Go." And it made me think.
Why I am marching for Prop 8? What causes me and hundreds of thousands of people like me around the country who don't live in California to come out to protest and march for the rights of gays and lesbians in California? I think we are there trying to reclaim a little bit of hope. First Vermont with civil unions. Then Massachusetts with marriage. Then California. Despite some setbacks, the forward progress for equal rights was happening. It was only going to be a matter of time before other states (thank you Connecticut!) would follow suit. So to see the people of California give in to hate, to fear, and to pass Proposition 8 was just a body blow to our collective hope for equal rights across the United States. If any state should support equal rights, it would be California, right? But no, the people of California lost sight of the inalienable rights of all citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This march, and the hundreds like it around the country were just our way of reclaiming hope that equal rights will come some day. That we can make it happen if we work together. If we show the rest of the country that we won't settle for second class rights.
Despite the pretty torrential downpour, we walked around the Washington Monument, up 17th St, and then over to LaFayette Park in front of the White House. The group was pretty big and stretched for several blocks. And we walked for quite a bit. And despite the rain, I think the positive attitude of everyone who marched was just amazing. And despite the traffic jams we caused, I only saw people waving or honking in support. Nothing bad or negative. It was really a remarkable afternoon.
Oh, best signs:
- "More Gay Marriages = Less Gay Sex. Happy Now?
- If I Can't Marry My Boyfriend, I'll Marry Your Daughter.
- Single and Bitter, but Still Support Marriage.