Folks started showing up at Founder's Square downtown even before 6 last night, carrying Harvey Milk posters, rainbow flags and equal rights stickers. The Texas Evangelical Republican Caucus And Barn-Stomping Jesus Revival was in full swing.
Ha ha! Just kidding! Last night, gay rights activists and allies gathered for the annual Stonewall Rally and March remembering America's first-ever gay rights riots in Greenwich Village 41 years ago. A highly vocal roll call revealed all kinds of participants -- gay dudes, lesbian ladies, bi folks, queers, transgendered people and some straights. For color, I guess, and also to support their marginalized friends demanding equal rights -- gay marriage, anti-sexual orientation discrimination policies, hospital visitation rights and so forth.
Many marchers carried signs demanding the Democratic Party follow through on campaign issues, like repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. Their posters said as much: "Democrats keep your promises!"
There was, predictably, a counter-protest across the street, if two Jesus-freaky religio-nuts hollering in vain while being soundly ignored by just about everyone counts as a counter-protest.
Once the march started heading east through downtown, one of the crazies followed the ralliers with a megaphone, preaching the Good Word of lovingkindness: "GOD SENT HIS ONLY SON TO DIE BECAUSE OF US!" Put it that way, and I think I'll stick to running around in thousand-degree weather with these dudes who just like kissin' each other, thanks.
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"You're so beautiful!" rally leader Elizabeth Pax told the crowd gathered around her in the plaza, leading the group in chants such as the classic, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia's got to go!" And there was a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek activism going on too with the marchers acknowledging a rally was hardly going to solve their problems. Pax shouted at the gathered crowd just before they took off: "We can march all day here, but I need you to march back home and tell your loved ones why you deserve equal rights."
For now, shouted Elizabeth, "We know it's not like equal rights are really going to magically happen just because you say it at this march." But, she continued, "today let's be magical anyway."