The October 14th, 1979 Gay Honor Rally In Washington DC
Today is the anniversary of the first Gay March on Washington; I was there. Yes, as a 21 year I went on down to join tens of thousands of other gay men and women on the Mall. And there’s little more “grassroots” protest movement than a Gay March, for you couldn’t pay anyone to join, and we don’t need stinkin’ fake issues; we got some real problems to deal with – back then it was laws against our very existence. And we never demanded anything more than Honor. Yes, I use that word in direct comparison to Glenn Beck’s Honor Rally. We want respect, and a shred of decency; we wanted it then, we want it now – we will continue to want it – and like Frank Kameny, we will be tenacious forever, for we have no choice in this matter. Give me liberty or give me death; a good ol’ fashion American value indeed.
Odd that Mr. Kameny, a one man tour de force of fighting for American rights for gays, a WWII vet on the front lines even – with more years of military service than all the poseurs for military valor on the Republican hustings combined – died on October 11th, which is “National Coming Out Day” – oh trust me, I never needed no special day, I’ve been out for decades – and he died at the age of 86, and the creeps of little “values” all stood up in Washington last weekend and said gays die 20 years earlier than hetero men – what do they have to say about the long-lived Mr. Kameny, eh? Not to mention my own 89 year old gay guy, a WWII vet himself – isn’t he beyond his expiration date? Come Mr. Boehner, you are submitting testimony in courts cases with this perjury-like canard; have you no shame or logic?
Yes, 32 years ago we made the same peaceful demands we make today – stop the mush against us. Yet what do we have to listen to, still? People like Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg of the ill-named Family Research Council are all over the place calling us gay folks “the greatest immediate threat to liberty” this nation faces. We run hair salons, morons. Are they out of their minds? Of course they are. But look who they’re talking to – Rick Santorum who wants to outlaw us, Rick Perry who comports with a man, Bryan Fischer of the anything-but “American Family Association,” who compares us to violent Jihadi head choppers. Mitt Romney who Fischer claims “rammed gay marriage into existence” in Massachusetts, and now he’s saying something like “they made me do it! I didn’t want to!” Yea, sure, Mitt, flipflop like a fish on the dock, go ahead, make my day.
We get to listen to Maggie Gallagher, a woman who doesn’t use her fey husband’s last name, is never seen with the man, doesn’t wear a wedding ring, and had a kid out of wedlock (and he works in Off-Broadway theater in Manhattan! Isn’t that a clue, Maggie, that your own son is probably gay, and must at least be extraordinarily gay friendly, given our dominion of that industry?) – she of the mal-named National Organization “for” Marriage, which is only against it, not for it in any sense of the word – hell, she’s fine with Divorce, for heaven’s sake – and she’s going to call us sick and depraved and evil and so many other nasty words one needs a score card to keep track of them.
These creeps, they’re trying to convince the next president, and the current one for that matter, he of the wishywashy “I’m evolving” stance, to declare gays “A public health hazard” and “A threat to liberty” and it’s just such arrant nonsense, and yet, there you have it – otherwise rational politicians listening to this mush. And do any of these politicians have even a clue of what transpired that gorgeous autumn day back in 1979? Probably not. They seem to believe we have this nefarious agenda to destroy America – and they are so wrong as to not be funny: we want to smooch in peace.
Of course, with such marches the number of participants is always hard to determine. Our foes, of course, always try to make it miniscule, as they ridicule us for daring to be honest with ourselves, our families and our nation. For they are fearful that saying something nice about us will bring about the downfall of the Republic, which is such a bizarre notion I can’t fathom how one can hold it. So, yes, how many were there? Well, it’s said by many gay sites – 100,000 to 125,000 – here’s two sites with some history and pictures (which is where these I present here come from):
But, when we look at pictures of Beck’s Honor Rally – which claimed 350,000 – we see the same sort of crowds back in 1979 at the Gay Honor Rally – so, yes, why can’t I say 350,000 then? It seems only fair – and everyone notoriously loves to under count us. Why, Gary Gates of the Williams Institute determined that there were exactly 2,491,034 of us (I still can’t get over how he could get right down the 34 last gay guys to be counted,) in 2011. And the population of the nation in 1980 was 226,545,805, the census said. So that means that there were … oh, com’n Gates, how many back in ’79? Oh, 1,500,000 of us? Supposedly? And we’re then left to conclude that fully 10% of all the gays in the nation made it to DC if the lower figure is believed, or upwards of 1/3 if the higher number is true.
That’s weird in a number of ways – for it shows the extraordinary desire of so many of us to stand up and be counted – in a public way. It also means, since in 1979 we were mostly still all “crazy” “psychiatric” “felons,” that this was the largest march by a criminal class of people ever held. How’s that for record breaking, eh? Tens of thousands of “sick” “evil” “criminals” assembled peacefully to tell the nation – “Get over it, we’re gay, you are not.” And still they’re going to argue with us, and tell us, as Herman Cain did the other day “Being gay is a choice, that’s my opinion.” How he can’t grasp it that millions of us tell him “No, we did not chose” I don’t know, he’s basically just calling us Liar! And he’s there with Perkins on the “values tour” this week in Ohio, to learn all about the “menace” we present, sure.
Oddly, Rick Santorum was at such a “values” “rally” in New Hampshire two days ago – three dozen people showed up; which seems to be the average these clowns of the “values” tour and “traditional marriage” tours get at their “rallies.” How many people were in the depths of last weekend’s “Values Summit”? What 2,000? 2,500? And look, way back in 1979, tens of thousands of us got together and said “We’re not going to put up with this nonsense.”
And Newt Gingrich keeps lumping the entire gay population in with the Socialist Left – while exit polls repeatedly show that upwards of 1/3 of all gay voters vote Republican. And the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce says they have a 1,400,000 members, all of whom own business and pay taxes like peaceful citizens out to do; which sounds suspiciously Conservative Republican to me. Why, not only do we all have jobs, and aren’t on the public dole – even though we are declared “mentally ill” in some way by people like Newt, we can’t get Disability for being “dysfunctional” as Carl Paladino called us in his run for governor of New York. Why, for such “evil” people, as we’re called repeatedly, we are extraordinarily productive, peaceful and even, dare I say, rather Conservative – yes, why, we even want to get married and file joint tax returns!
Weirdly, there’s more than a dozen Republican leaning gay sites, this one here included – places like www.gaypatriot.net and www.hillbuzz.org and so many others. And most other gay political sites don’t really have anything on economics and taxes or the IRS or the way too big federal government – but only talk about how the politicians and religious figures are still arguing with us over who is right about our lives. We say “Gay is Good” and we prove it, and they call us liars and accuse us of “attacking” them by saying “leave us alone.” How bizarre, eh? And so what the hell is Newt talking about? And what does he tell his gay sister? “You’re going to hell, sis!”? Egad, now that’s not family values.
And just like at Becks Honor Rally, there was no violence at the 1979 Gay Honor Rally – there were no barricades behind which the riot police hunker – and indeed, no riot police at all, but rather a few bored and bemused cops thinking “wow, these sissies sure are peaceful!” They sure looked that way when we had a million march in New York back in June. We throw no Molotov Cocktails or Bricks at our perceived or real enemies, like Global Warming protestors do, like Anti-Globalization protestors do, like the loonies on Wall Street are threatening to toss if they don’t get the money others earned given to their greedy selves. No, gay protests – 40 years of them now, in a never ending increasing number of them around the world – are always peaceful – unless, like in Moscow and Belgrade, the cops come in to bust some gay heads.
And this whole idea that we’re going to wreck this nation – it’s so phantasmagorical I can’t fathom the stupidity, I can’t – what do these NO GAYS! Creeps think about the gay marches all over the world? Supposedly, there were 700,000 in Rio’s Gay Honor Rally (yes, I think I’ll stop the “pride” bit, for I’m not proud I’m gay, I’m proud I survived the onslaught of laws and attitudes against me, and still going strong, too, I assure you,) just last week too. What are those gays trying to do? Destroy Brazil? Is that what the crazed fundamentalists down there say? How about in Europe? Are the gays going to destroy Europe too? That’s the charge, “Gays want to destroy family, society, our culture” – the idiots: we are families, we are society, we are the culture.
Or are the crazies here sure that the Brazilian gays are wrecking America, too? Indeed, there’s more than 1000 gay marches a year now, all over the globe – so much for it’s a Democratic Socialist scheme to seize Exxon and Wall Street or something. And no other people on earth have ever had worldwide demonstrations for Honor like we do – no other cause or group could conceivably pull together 1000 peaceful events all over the world, that’s for sure. That’s how “American” we are, we are the ones spreading “The right to freely assemble is only threatening to tyrants” value, and the NO GAYS! Creeps want to end even that, the tyrants. No doubt they would salivate like vultures over road kill if they could figure out a way to ban our parades; but still, they talk about it.
And Rick Santorum had the utter audacity in a public forum to complain about the discrimination against gay folks in Iran, while he talks to Bryan Fischer and Tony Perkins who both claim we are exactly like the Iranian government, come to wreck this nation, and all the while Santorum is calling for not only purposeful deliberate discrimination against me in this nation – but a law against my very existence? Is he a pandering hypocrite or just stupid? I can’t figure it out; I’ll leave it to you to figure out how a man calls for discrimination against me in this nation while decrying discrimination against some Iranian version of me in that nation. It’s beyond hypocrisy, actually, and into vapid cupidity.
So yes, that is where I was this day, 32 years ago – in Washington, on the Mall, with nothing but a great big glow of happiness to be with so many thousands of others redressing our grievances. And I was there in 1987, for our second peaceful march on DC. And I was there in 1993 for the third time we did it. I missed the 2000 Millennium march – and look, no other group in this nation has ever had so many protest marches – yes, only 4 – but still, that 2 or 3 more than anyone else. And if we have to have another one come 2012 or 2013 I suppose we will have one. We’re not shy people no more; and if the Congress or the President feels that they are going to pass laws and proclamations against us than we shall indeed protest – and just as peacefully as we always have.
So fair warning, my government – let my people go – and you sin no more against us with your unconstitutional tyranny over the rights of individuals to pursue peaceful happiness. And grow a pair and stop being afraid of sissies, for heaven’s sake.
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