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
Thursday, Mormon temple, Westwood: I miss this one. The husband goes. Forgets to wear comfortable walking shoes and is chafed when he gets home. Assists in blocking Wilshire and backing it up all the way to the 405, which kind of makes it a normal day of traffic on Wilshire anyway. Sees no violence until, like me the night before, he comes home to witness it on TV. Video of some guy in a truck getting out to punch a protester in the face. Punch back, Gay!
Saturday, Silverlake: I get a couple of beers at the Eagle, first because protesting is just nicer with some booze in you. The husband and I talk about which celebrities ought to be at this rally. “Madonna was just in town,” he says. “And she went to that ACT UP! demo in Truth or Dare. Let her come to this one. She owes us.”
“I want Barack Obama to fly in and fix this shit,” I say. “And not in a plane. I mean really fly. You know he’s got superpowers and can totally do that. He’s just waiting for the right moment to show them to the world. Failing that: Vicky Becks.”
I have the first of two ridiculous conversations I’ll have with lunatics on this night. One’s a drunkard at the bar. I can’t really blame a gay barfly for doing everything wrong in his life, but this one was trying to convince me of his superior liver-damaged logic in having voted yes on Prop. 8 (if he was even telling me the truth). It goes like this: If the world ended and all we had left were two male rats, then that would be the end of the entire rat race.
“You’re done talking to me,” I tell him, walking away.
The next turns out to be a man who, I learn once I see all three of his signs, is Melrose Larry Green. “FACE IT, YOU LOST” and “THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN,” it seems, are equal to “HOWARD STERN IS THE KING OF ALL MEDIA” on his evening agenda. He walks right up to me and says, “The people have spoken!”
“Oh yeah?” I ask. “You vote yes on this?”
“It doesn’t matter. The people have spoken.”
“I’m the people and I’m speaking,” I say. “It matters. And your king Howard is on our side.”
He walks away.
The PA on the flatbed carrying the rally’s speakers can’t be heard farther than 20 feet away, and about 10,000 people are gathering, meaning that 9,500 of them listen to the equivalent of Charlie Brown’s teacher. So, to pass the time till we start marching, I just look for signs with typos on them: “Clerical Facism” and “We are your nigbors” are good. And though it’s likely a stylistic choice, “Stop H8te” reads like “Stop Haiti” to me. Best nontypo sign: “THE BIBLE: SLAVERY GOOD. GAYS BAD. SNAKES TALK,” even if talking snakes is one of the reasons I’m still sort of a fan of the Bible.
The husband and I get separated again during this march, thanks to my insistence on keeping to the fringes. I’m hoping I’ll run into some counterdemonstrators. But the most I find is a tiny, Spanish-speaking, storefront Pentecostal church as we detour up Vermont. The small congregation watches from the sidewalk, as everyone chants past, wondering what the ruckus is about. No angry showdowns. In fact, this march is so well-planned and well-organized and well-behaved and well-directed down streets that have nothing but closed businesses and very little human street traffic, that we’re kind of just entertaining ourselves. I’m hoping they’ve organized another one for Sunday morning, blocking the entrance to some big Evangelical outpost like Saddleback Church, because this is all a little too nice.
We make the loop back to Sunset Junction, and I finally see a handful of counterprotestors. Not like they needed to show up. They won this round, after all. But here they are, late and lazy. And everyone ignores them. George Takei walks past me. So does Wanda Sykes. And my feet hurt again. I get a chicken burrito at El Pollo Loco, beating the rest of the hungry gays. The husband catches up with me at our car. We drive home, wondering silently how to make Step Two happen in our lifetime.
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