Monday, April 29, 2013

20 Years Ago Last Thursday

I missed the 20th anniversary on April 25th of the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Rights and Liberation, but I was there.  It was a transformative experience for a lot of people including me.  The spectacle of seeing subway stops, streets, and The Mall swarming with people who've had to put up with the same shit I endured was exhilarating.  It was my first glimpse of the power that was always latent in gay politics; and 20 years later, that exhilaration turned out to be prophetic.

I remember arriving in DC from New York with a busload of people.  We parked by RFK stadium, unlike now where the Washington PD makes people park out in the suburbs and take the subway in.  I traveled with a couple of friends, and ran into a lot of old friends from St. Louis on the Mall who came to the rally.  I remember a busload of Japanese tourists gleefully posing for pictures with drag queens who were all too happy to oblige.  The only public speakers I remember were some comedians and Jesse Jackson.  I remember spending time at the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The bus trip down there was a party, and the bus trip back was an even happier party, all of us strangers who had never met.

And here I am with my 1993 hair and a Dr. Pepper near the Washington Monument.


JCF said...

"I remember arriving in DC from New York with a busload of people. We parked by RFK stadium..."

That's my story, too! Where did you get on your bus, Doug? Port Authority?

Mine was the Union Seminary bus, one of about 30 (IIRC) that came from Columbia U.

It was awesome, as everyone says.

The only bittersweet part of my memories: being there w/ my ex. I ID'd as bisexual at the time (purchased a "Bi American" button from a vendor there ;-/), and my ex seemed so genuinely moved to be there (a straight partner/ally) at the time.

Only when we were divorcing, did I learn that he was *always uncomfortable* around LGBT people (confused at best, if not teeth-gritting/sphincter-clenching). Such is Life, though: I can't have the awesome memories, w/o the painful ones, too.

Counterlight said...

I remember catching the bus at Union Square (I think). I went with a bunch of Unitarians and others,

Kittredge Cherry said...

I was there too! I was working the event as ecumenical and PR associate for Metropolitan Community Churches. The most thrilling moment was when I accompanied MCC founder Rev. Troy Perry onstage so as to take this photo of him speaking to the crowd of 1 million people. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.