I arrived in DC on a glorious evening. Standing at Union Station at midnight on Wednesday, October 7th, I noticed that most of the people quietly slipping into the cabs sweeping into the night were somehow queer. My hope for the National Equality March began to swell and to simultaneously dispel the smoldering fear that had crept into my heart. There were many naysayers about the march, ironically most came from within our queer ranks. In the moment of stepping onto the sidewalk outside of Union Station, under the mercurial clouds of a storm just passed, I realized that I should worry no more.
This was a moment of solidarity. And it did succeed. It did so against those who would have liked us to just shut up and stay at home on our virtual asses. Well, I would like to remind you all that Silence=Death. Marching is showing our strength and commitment with our bodies. It was not and never will be "a waste of time at best" as Representative Barney Frank muttered about this march. He is both gay and represents the first state in the union to allow marriage equality. Well Mr. Frank, we marched for you too, even if you've forgotten how to represent your own interests.
But this was no celebration. As I wandered DC in the days leading up to the march, I noticed that the capital felt somber. Gay men were not pouring out of clubs, twenty-somethings weren't shaking their groove-thangs, and there was a noticeable absence of the dykes on bikes. This was a pride of a different sort.
True this event is what Maslow might call a "peak experience" and as such it may give us so much hope that it will cease our action. Perhaps this was the real fear behind the naysayers doubt. That indeed we may be pacified by just showing up and that we may think that was our good-queer-deed of the year or the decade. At risk of answering my own rhetoric, I think not. This felt different.
The focused mood was palpable and the speakers were so resoundingly in step regarding what needs to be done next that I believe the march did re-energized us after 8 years of King Bush, after the bitter loss on Prop. 8, and during this ongoing fight towards employment and civil rights parity in general.
The speeches at the rally all resoundingly agreed that this is the beginning of a grassroots, decentralized movement working from each congressional district around the US. All agreed that we are tired of waiting. Each focused on including people of all our diversities to work together on the core issues that impact us all. These are messages that have been whispered in meetings around the country for at least a decade. They were shouted at this gathering. Indeed, we started something. Let's be sure we continue it.