By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
I’m protesting against Proposition 8 — after the fact — with thousands of other people because:
1. We lost, and I hate everyone now. Especially you good people who voted for Prop. 8. You’re all jerks. Burn in Hell.
2. Queer protest marches always have the most imaginative chants, notwithstanding “Hey hey, ho ho, homophobia’s got to go.”
3. Clogging the streets, though not accomplishing anything tangible while it happens — unless, like me, you count making people late for the Madonna concert a satisfying outcome — is part of the fighting-back process. It’s cheerleading for the opposition. It’s Step One after the gut-punching. Step Two is figuring out how to dismantle an unjust law or constitutional amendment, regardless of the slim-yet-tyrannical majority’s wishes to impose on the rest of us its religion-based, anti–civil rights opinions. That’s when the boring legal work begins among people who know how to do that kind of boring legal work. For the rest of us, plain old-fashioned venting of homo rage is all we have for the moment. So I vent.
Wednesday night, West Hollywood: The rally begins. But not with a bang. It’s as wimpy a whimper as I’ve heard in a while. A gay men’s chorus whisper-sings “We’ve Only Just Begun.” I love the Carpenters, too, but right now I’m feeling a little more, oh, I don’t know, Cannibal Corpse about this whole deal. I mean, forgive us for forgetting for one minute that because we lived in “liberal” California we didn’t have to worry about anyone taking our rights from us again. We were too busy having relatively decent lives generally free of oppression, and we let down our guard. This was supposed to have been a relic of the ugly Anita Bryant ’70s. But here we are, damned for not being constantly freaked out by the people who hate us, punished with Carpenters lullabies.
The choir starts up another. I don’t recognize it. Some Broadway ballad I’m sure, and I’m literally growling into my now-not-husband’s ear. (And don’t patronize me with, “But you’re still legally married.” Sure we are. For now. Wait till the mandatory divorcing begins. You know that’s next. Then watch them go after domestic partnership.) I’m not sure what comes over me, but I just start screaming during the singing. I do this twice. Some people around me laugh. Some other gays shoot me dirty looks. But whatever. Then I scream, “FUCK SHIT UP!” with as much volume as I can deliver in one bellow.
Speakers speak. People talk about God and how we’re all created equally in God’s sight. Some more speakers speak. Some more God stuff. Chastity Bono is there. Toward the back of the crowd I hear yelling and horns honking, so I turn to my friend Gary and say, “Whatever’s going on behind us sounds way more awesome than this. Let’s go.”
The husband wants to stay behind. I promise to keep in touch on my cell phone. A spontaneous march begins up San Vicente to Sunset. I’ve never helped to shut down a major thoroughfare before, but I’m ready. Trudging up San Vicente, Gary begins chanting, “Who’s in charge! Who’s in charge!” Answer: no one. Not that there needed to be. We encounter only helpful police as we take over Sunset, greeted by applauding people at cafés and other retail outlets. Even in front of House of Blues, where lunkheads often congregate, I only see one guy giving us the not-pleased-with-gays hand gesture. And because I’m bigger than he is, and also because I’m pretty good at Wii boxing (my boxer is Joan Didion), I figure I’m safe in barking back my favorite 12-letter profanity. Nothing comes of it. Some frustrated motorists we pass aren’t happy with us, but one of the women to my left starts yelling, “IF YOU’D VOTED NO, YOU’D BE HOME BY NOW!”
You know what sucks when you’re old? Walking a long distance with a bunch of kids who practically gallop down the street. And who show no sign of stopping. And who are genuinely spoiling for a fight, unlike someone like me, who just enjoys yelling a lot. So I let them go on ahead, peel off down a quiet block lined with cars trying to get across Sunset and I wander back home, content. I need a nice cup of tea and a sit-down. And from my couch I watch KTLA video of young people being beaten down by the police. When those cops say get down on the ground, they mean it, kids. Don’t think that they’re kidding. They will Rodney-King-the-shit-out-of-you. Oh yeah, and the other thing cops don’t like is little skinny-jeaned homosexuals vogueing on top of their cars.
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