My initial plan for this very hungover post-election day was to get caught up on work, and go to the Tilda Swinton tribute.
But then word spread quick about a No-On-8 protest happening in West Hollywood, and I thought to myself: Tilda would want me to go there instead of to her tribute. So I did. It began as a peaceful gathering, with what felt like tens of thousands of supporters gathering with signs to listen to various local activists speak about the Proposition’s likely passing, and how to move forward from here. Even Rose McGowan was there!
A second rally is even being planned tomorrow, in front of the West Hollywood Mormon Temple, which I’m guessing might be a little less peaceful. I felt slightly disconnected from it all, even spoiled, knowing I come from somewhere where religion really plays little role in government decisions, and where I’ve been able to marry a man for a few years. But I was certainly in awe of Californians quickly organized and amazing display of community, and I felt my words a few entries back about the depoliticized nature of gay identity these days no longer made as much sense.
Below are a ton of photos and videos to tell the story better than I can word. The videos aren’t the best.. as I was videotaping, phototaking, clapping and occasionally smoking all at the same time.
The videos have already brought out some bigoted YouTube watchers.. par example:
prksinc has made a comment on L.A. No on Prop 8 Rally, Part 3:
Oh, cry me a river!
The people have spoken …… you lose!
Deal With It
That was within 5 minutes of me putting it up. What kind of true homophobe spends hours searching youtube for Prop 8 rally clips?
Anyway, the rally didn’t end with the above photos and clips. When the crowds started to die down, I slowly headed back to my hotel (experiencing my very first In-N-Out burger en route), hoping to get some work done before my very early tomorrow morning. But then I noticed that a crowd of thousands of protestors had somehow made it all the way to Hollywood & Highland.
Police were lined up across Highland, keeping all the protestors from continuing their very long march (my flip cam’s batteries were sadly dead, so I couldn’t get clips).
There were crowds and crowds of Hollywood Blvd tourists marveling at the scene. I tried to cross the street to join in, but the moment I tried, a cop grabbed my arm and threw me back in the other direction: “How many times do we have to tell you people?” A wonderfully queeny dude started flipping out at the cop: “You can’t touch him like that! He was just trying to stand up for his rights!” I actually have a handprint shaped series of red blotches on my upper arm. Which more than anything just made me feel really badass, even though I really was just trying to go take photos and was too stupid to realize the cops wouldn’t let me. This girl, however, is badass:
She yelled at that cop for 10 minutes straight. “Second class citizen! SECOND CLASS CITIZEN! You hear me? That’s what I am. Or are you too busy touching your big stick you got there. SECOND CLASS CITIZEN!”
I slowly found a shortcut in the crowd, but by the point I got there, most of them had given up. The police weren’t letting them continue marching any further, and were displaying some surprising acts of power-tripping in doing so. Apparently (though I didn’t see this), a few guys jumped the barricades and one even went on top of a police car. The police then beat them with their sticks and the men were arrested. And I myself saw them shove people, scream at people, and make certain there sticks were in plain sight. I guess they shouldn’t be so surprising. But I’d never experienced that before, so I was frankly stunned. There were also fundamentalist Christians everywhere (how do they act so quick), handling out pamphets. I saw this one woman doing it and got excited for her to approach me. “Have you read Revelations?” And in my one act of slight badassery all night, I told her to go fuck herself.
I turned around to head back to the hotel when this (I would assume) straight, young Hispanic boy asked me if was going to put the pictures I took on the internet. I said yes, and had no idea where he was going with it. In his thick accent he said, “Because people need to see what happened here tonight. These cops. The gay people just wanted to have a voice.” I told him I’m sure it would be all the over the internet, whether I put the photos up or not. “Good,” he said. “It’s not right.” It was one of the most endearing things I’ve witnessed in a while. That or this:
Anyway, so tomorrow if your in LA.. head to the Mormon Temple at 2pm. I’m gonna try, and will post another series of photos and clips if I do. California gays, I’m impressed.