Sunday, October 11, 2009

Who Knew??

We knew it was going to be better than we were being told it was going to be.
We didn't think that it was going to be this much better.

The official march count just came out a few hours ago: a shitload of people.
All kinds of people. Mostly young...but not everyone was young...or any one kind of person.

I felt Phyllis Lyon's and Del Martin's presence here. I hope that someone will tell Phyllis that they were missed today and that they would have been so proud of their great grandchildren. Their great grandchildren declared grassroots activism alive and well. Their great grandchildren also made it clear today that they are ready to take us into the next era of the LGBT civil rights movement... in ways that work for them.

This morning started REAL early for me. My media volunteer shift started at 7 AM. Plueeze. There is no coffee available at 7 AM on a Sunday morning in downtown Washington DC. There is NOTHING available at 7 AM on a Sunday morning in downtown Washington DC.

But, I made it. Not awake, but physically there. That is all that was expected.

Then, they handed me a walkie-talkie (I know, I know...I took a vow) and it was off to the races. I was at the stage and as the first marchers came in we got the report that the last marchers hadn't left the starting place yet. Two miles. It was only then that we knew that something big was happening.

In the last few hours I've heard some wonderful stories. Just as the march started a big rainbow came out over the Mall. Everyone cheered. A sign. What can I tell was that kind of day, that kind of moment.
There are some wonderful pics up on the march website:

Anyway, the speakers spoke, the singers sang. We all left tired, but revived. All of us who were not involved in the organizing of this march owe much gratitude to this raggedy bunch of nobodies who just decided to give it a shot...because it was important and time to act. Yea.

I wish I could say this weekend was ALL peaches and cream time ...but it wasn't. I have evidence. As I walked by the Human Rights Campaign building this morning I realized that they had been tagged by someone angry and with little sense of power. I only had my phone with me but did take the shot. One the left side of the picture is some pink writing. It says "Quit leaving Queers Behind."

Was this a hate crime against HRC? I doubt if this is the first time someone has politically vandalized their building. But, was kind of disconcerting to see, especially today. At approximately 6:45 in the morning... sans caffeine.

I do hope HRC will quit leaving queers out, and learn to make nice with people who don't write checks. And, I hope that those who don't write checks will come to understand that it takes ALL of us to make change happen. This has been a wonderful, meaningful that gave us all hope. However,we still have our work cut out for us. Heavy lifting ahead.

I think we are up to the task. Know it in my heart. Today, for some reason I thought of Del Martin's Memorial service this year. And I thought about something that her daughter said...something I don't think I'll ever forget: "People talk about what an extraordinary woman Del Martin was...but she was not an extraordinary person. She was a very ordinary person...who did extraordinary things."

Today a whole lot of ordinary people did something special and kick-started us into the "next." An extraordinary thing.

So, let's wrap this up.
All weekend long I asked people why they were here. Why they were activists.
A question asked a hundred times with a hundred answers.
My personal answer should be pretty clear by now.
Being part of this is important, it is meaningful...
But really, what keeps me coming back, keeps me going, is that this is damn FUN.
I wouldn't have missed this weekend for the world and am so happy that I was able to share my experience with you.

I hope that if you ever get a chance to come to DC and speak your idea of truth to power, you will take it.
It will change your life.


  1. As much as I think HRC is more about fundraising than actual gay rights accomplishments, vandalism is always wrong. I would think that HRC would have security cameras running so that the police can arrest the people who did this.

  2. I suspect that the building was cleaned up by noon and HRC would prefer that nobody know about it. But, who knows.

  3. Leslie, I'm disappointed that you imply that what happened was okay because they were "angry" or didn't have a "sense of power." And, please, let us know how you think HRC has left the queers out? Lastly, at least speak to HRC before speculating on their actions and thoughts.

  4. I am sorry to say but I agree 100%. Such a large organization that spends so much time looking for money. All they do is ask for money. Money MONEY. I get canvassed all the time by them. Emails from them asking for money. But I rarely hear much of what they accomplish. Yes I do. They raise a lot of money.

  5. HRC left trans folks out of ENDA. They still supported it when "gender" was substituted in for "gender identity and expression." "gender" simply does not cover all that. They are not synonyms. bottom line, HRC left trans folks out, not to mention cross-dressers and other gender non-conforming people.

    And on "vandalism," just because something is illegal does not always mean it's wrong. When public space is only available for those who can pay up, why is it so wrong to TAKE your public space. Don't you recall that women and black folks didn't used to be allowed to vote? Don't be so eager to trust the government. Develop your own ethics.

  6. It was great meeting you and thank you for volunteering. Anne and I mentioned Barbara Gittings and how much she would have loved to have been there.

    It was great to see so many young people as well as the dinosaurs. :-)

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