Monday, November 17, 2008


Okay so I've finally put photos up from the Saturday No on 8 protest because it literally took me a couple days to recover! The funny wrap up is that I spent 3 hours protesting and marching and then 3 more hours trying to get back up on my feet, get food, and get back to the car. I wasn't the only one moving in slow motion - everyone was like that after 3 hours protesting and marching in the 90+ heat, plus add in the horrible air quality drifting over from the Sylmar fire.

But here's my more detailed, mini wrap up of the protest:

On Saturday, November 15, 2008 I joined in the nationwide NO ON 8 protest organized by Every major city in America (and some around the world) engaged in simultaneous protests against Proposition 8 and for equality. The Los Angeles protest was held in front of Downtown's City Hall. Speakers included Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (who delivered his speech first in English and then in Spanish), longtime lesbian activist Tori Osborne, Lorri Jean (Executive Director of L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center), out actor Daryl Stephens (Noah's Arc), Hairspray's Ricky Lake & Marisa Jaret Winoker, and Lucy Lawless. The LAPD estimated there were between 10,000 - 12,000 people at the protest. Of that amount, approx 6 people were Yes on 8 protestors (or really religious zealots who found this to be a perfect time and place to dust off their hate spewing signs). This "minority" among the No on 8 protestors set up their signs in front of City Hall and were pretty much isolated by Police surrounding them in each direction and the crowd of 10,000 - 12,000 No on 8 protesters pretty much ignored their slight presence. As the entire event ultimately convened at the corner of Spring and Temple (where a stage was set up for the speakers), the Yes on 8 people were literally left behind the protest. The speakers began at 10:30am (Villaraigosa was helicoptered in from the Sylmar fire and said he was returning there after his speech) and ended around 12:30. Then the protestors marched on Spring to Los Angeles State Historic Park, complete with full LAPD escort and closed streets.

I was lucky to finally find a shot of myself during the march in Tom Andrews' Flickrstream. I'm the one carrying the "Will Your Rights Be Next" sign. I was marching right behind the front of the line for most of the march!

Because I was in the middle of the crowd, I never actually got to see the full scope of it all - 10,000 - 12,000 protestors. This photo was taken by Barbara Davidson of the Los Angeles Times.

These are my photos:

No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-17

No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-5

No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-4

No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-7

No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-13

Someone briefly unfurled this Rainbow flag outside the City Hall building. Then it disappeared as quickly as it emerged.
No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-9

I briefly spoke with this man before the protest. He surprised me by saying that his Rainbow flag was over 30 years old and that he'd been protesting with it since the early 1970's. He didn't look old enough to have been doing that, but he shared that he was in his 50's. I cannot even imagine how hard the gay rights struggle must have been for him that long ago. He is a true pioneer and hero.
No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08

These few guys here with the HUGE hate signs were the ONLY anti-protestors there! "God Does Not Love You Just The Way You Are" is just the best in Hate spewing.
No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-3

This was the largest assembly of mounted police I've ever seen! They appeared at the end of the march like a scene out of an old movie - the calvary arrives! They were were really handsome on their horses.
No On 8_L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-22

Later in the day, around 4-430pm the sunset was just spectacular due to the Sylmar fire.

Here's City Hall:
L.A. City Hall_11-15-08-16

And the U.S. Post Office Terminal Annex:
USPO Terminal Annex 11-15-08-25

So to wrap up, it was ANOTHER empowering protest, and more and more straight supporters have been joining these rallies.

My only constructive criticism for all future protests/marches:

1) Can we please march in some areas that are actually populated? This was my second Downtown L.A. protest on a weekend and it's literally a ghost town. You never pass through any areas with homes - it's all industrial, and occasionally a few stores. Yes the news crews can see us, but I'd like Los Angelenos to see us on foot too.

2) Can the march route be announced in advance? The reason for me is that I'd like to know in advance how long and how far I'm marching. This affects how much water or food I'll bring, the kind of shoes I'll wear, and just helps my overall mental headspace. It also lets me know in advance if I want to complete the march or drop off before it ends.

3) Can we please march in a square route - that way we will begin and end in the same place - and I think this will help with keeping the energy of the marchers up. It was kind of sad on Saturday to see all the oomph of the march end when we reached our destination at the park. Everyone was breaking off looking for food/water, then crowd kind of limped back to our starting point instead of appearing to have solidarity and size.

Other than that, I want to add that the LAPD have just been GREAT! I really feel like they're out there to protect and serve us all and keep us safe.

A full set of my photos from this protest can be seen on my Flickr page.

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