Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gays Right Now!

Leave it to Californians to decide we need to have nation-wide protests about gay marriage in November!

Despite sub-40-degree weather and near-freezing rain, there was a reasonably good turnout for the National Protest Against Prop 8 down at the CAY. I'm no crowd guesstimator, but I'd say there were probably 100+ people there, bundled up, intermittently chanting and listening to rally speakers.

Only a handful of us get that pleasure.

I didn't get signed release forms, so let's just say it
really was Paul Lynde and Rock Hudson, ok?

It was a good mix of people, a good showing by both gays and lesbians, and lots of supportive straight friends. For quite a few people I talked to it was their first protest ever, which was great to hear!

It seems like we may have had a little jump-start in the gay rights movement with this Prop 8 thingie. While our turnout wasn't huge (although I think not too bad given the weather, plus the amount of "activism doesn't go with this outfit" in this region), I heard from friends in NYC, Chicago and SF that protests were off-the-hook and incredibly life-affirming there.

*sigh* I guess for our metro area's size we should have been able to do better. I mean, *I* wanted life-affirming! If we had a REAL gay hub we'd be able to rally more people to action, but we don't so I'll shut up about that for now.

I am glad we had this, at the very least for the purposes of raising gay visibility in the area. Tonight I can fall asleep thinking that there might be a chance for the gay community here.


Backintheday said...

I attended the march in Los Angeles today and it was thousands strong. The mayor and half the city council spoke on our behalf. It was gratifying but I couldn't help but be even prouder of my Detroit brethren whose numbers you describe at around a hundred. If I'm really honest with myself, I know that I'm way more "out and proud" here because it's easier to be. When I left Detroit 18 years ago I wasn't nearly as open and many of my friends back there still aren't. To get out there and do what you folks did today in an atmosphere that's not nearly as welcoming (not to mention the weather) was nothing short of heroic. Bravo!


Anonymous said...

I was very proud. I would say it was closer to 150, and thats a number I have heard from quite a few people. But details details, I know. I am hoping we can get something started from this.

On my bus ride down Woodward to the protest I got nods of support while I sat quietly with my sign. And one person even decided to join me. So I would say yesterday was a great start. Now if we can just keep it going.

darren said...

the thing i ended up involved in new york was an offshoot of the actual protest and was brilliant.

but i can't imagine that i would have the balls to ride the woodward bus with protest signs - good for detroit! i did hear from some people that the weather was their excuse to bail. wonder what the turnout would've been like otherwise...

SupergayDetroit said...

According to the NY Times Minneapolis had 1000 people and Little Rock beat us out at 200. That was a little discouraging.

But Wanda Sykes came out of the closet!

Backintheday, thanks for the nice words! An interesting contrast to your experience with being 'out and proud', I think I am more out and proud in Detroit than I have been anywhere in my life. But I think it might be because it's needed here a little bit more.

qemargie, that is an awesome story! I am proud that you are proud!

darren, I'm so happy you had that amazing experience, but I'm over those fair-weather faggots. I hope it's no one I know.

Dylan said...

I loved the support form the beeping buses, the spirit of the protestors and that it got done ealier than planned because it was cold.

I went and got coffee afterwards with a very nice man and had a conversation with a couple people in the place. They were all supportive. I'm a recent returnee to Detroit and I've loved it so far.

Now if our metropolis of four million would come out more. And what about the black community? Come on we could do better.

Dylan said...

ps the free press says 200 people

Anonymous said...

“In Michigan, we are a progressive state and we are a state that moves forward and we are a state that does not discriminate.”....except when we do.

This p.c/ be nice to everyone shit is why I'm not involved in the community here. What state does this tool live in? It sure ain't Michigan. Did proposition 2 NOT pass? Did the Supreme court NOT rule that Prop 2 rips out protections granted by contract with the state? Has any legislation with even a hint of being pro-gay ever been passed? How did that local hamtramick vote go again?

If given a chance, people in this state will bash gays every day and twice on Sunday.

The only thing that brought me back here and currently keeping me here is an irrational attachment to place. That grip loosens a little more everyday. Especially with statements like that from the so-called "leaders" of the gay community.

SupergayDetroit said...

OK, anonymous, walk it off.

I agree with you - there's no reason to be optimistic about gay fortunes in Michigan in the near- or mid-term future. People keep saying "oh it will happen here eventually," but realistically it will happen on a federal level first.

The general population here is stupid and change-averse overall. But gay people have themselves to blame too - the amount of closetedness that exists in this region is appalling, especially in 2008. If people would just lose the shame and be who they are - at work, with their families, with their neighbors, with strangers on the street - we could create a lot more change than a little rally will ever accomplish.

As for gay leaders here and the quote in the article - cut these guys a little slack. The organizers of this rally are puppies, young guys in their early 20's.

I don't know why Triangle and Affirmations dropped this first high-visibility gay protest in years into the laps of neophytes - I guess the Reel Pride Gay Film Festival was a more pressing issue. But for the average stupid, change-averse citizen, being told they are progressive probably makes them more open to new ideas than telling them they are idiots.

Finally, being angry with leadership is no reason to not get involved. In fact, it's EVERY reason to get involved. We need to figure out a way to channel this outside of Triangle and Affirmations maybe, but watching and fuming accomplishes nothing.

Anonymous said...

"But for the average stupid, change-averse citizen, being told they are progressive probably makes them more open to new ideas than telling them they are idiots."

Does it? I would thing that, to the average denizen, being called "progressive" would be tantamount to being labeled a "librul". Rush said so.

Fuming on stranger's blog is my way of "walking it off". Sorry about that.

As an aside, I did attempt involvement. From my observation, your comment is dead on; film festivals and the annual Ferndale Pridefest is MUCH more important than silly things like real progress on issues that matter.

SupergayDetroit said...

Hey A., don't sweat it. I actually like the anger.

But only when people do something with it. That's why I started this here blog. I was irritated and needed to do something constructive with my frustrations.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Fresno CA located in the heart of the ultra-conservative Central Valley (Prop 8 passed 69% to 31% here). I went to the rally on Saturday not really knowing what to expect. I had sat on the sidelines before the election but decided I couldn't sit it out any longer. I was hoping for a profound personal moment or feeling of togetherness, but it never came. There were 500 of us there, so that was good. But it was pretty dry. Mostly just people yelling at everyone from megaphones, no real message. The thing that struck me most was how diverse we all were. Such an odd mix of ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. It's easy to see why the gay community has such a hard time mobilizing.

Then we marched. It was a weird feeling to leave the comfort zone of supporters outside of city hall and take to the streets where people were driving past. Most people were trying REALLY hard not to look at us, make any kind of eye contact or show any kind of emotion. There were lots of honks and yells of support. You could tell a few drivers were really agitated and annoyed by the whole thing but only one car was openly disdainful. It was a latino family with several generations in the car and they gave us thumbs downs.

I truly think that if there was a re-vote today that the election results would be flipped. I've heard so many stories of people who have now seen the error of their votes. I think we were way too polite during the campaign. I don't think California ever imagined that it would actually pass. I guess we'll see what the courts do for us. Hopefully we'll start to see some movement on the federal level too. One thing I noticed was that several of the cars that were honking in support had children or car seats in the cars. I took that as optimistic sign for the future.

Woodwards Friend said...

"Did the Supreme court NOT rule that Prop 2 rips out protections granted by contract with the state?"

In fairness to the state Supremes, the anti-2 campaign said during the campaign that legally Prop 2 would void those protections so the Supremes were probably properly interprating that law as passed by the citizens.

The pro-2 crowd of course tried to deny this but once it passed they made every effort to ensure this was the case.


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