and I went to the Boston Dyke March last night. I had a good time: there was a fair-sized (but not overwhelming) crowd of queer women. The event consisted of some general milling around and socializing, then a bit of music and a speech, which started by name-checking Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson,
and then we walked out of the Common and along a bunch of streets, winding up back at the Common.
A big piece of what I liked is that the event was noncommercial: there were a few tables for LGBTQ groups, including La Red (which helps people who are dealing with domestic violence), a trans* activist group, and a Christian congregation, but no corporate anything, no floats, no amplified music. (The list of exhibitors at the more organized/mainstream Pride Festival today includes not only banks but at least one major pharmaceutical company.)
People walked and chanted and carried signs (I still don't have any), and it was a very nice evening to be walking down Comm Ave and Boylston Street in that sort of company, with people waving at us from the sidewalks. There were some motorcycle cops keeping the cars away from us, but not the barriers along the edges of the sidewalks that I got used to at New York Pride, with the much larger crowds.
The chanting was a mix of queer/dyke/trans* specific slogans (like "We're here, we're queer, we're fabulous, don't fuck with us," and "hey hey ho ho, homophobia's got to go" alternating with "hey hey ho ho, transphobia's got to go") and some of the same things I've been hearing and chanting at other protests, especially in the last year: "Black lives matter" and "Black trans lives matter," "This is what democracy looks like," and "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA."
Adrian suggested that we do this, saying that her congregation "isn't having an Erev Pride service this year." I'm glad she did; she said afterward she wouldn't have gone by herself, and I probably wouldn't have either. We saw a few women she knew, and nobody I recognized, and any sort of march, from the very political to the mostly celebratory, is more fun in company. Yes, sometimes I go alone, when it feels important—for myself or for the cause—but it's more draining that way.
This march felt political enough that I've included it in the spreadsheet tracking my political activism that I started after the election; if I'd had the energy to go to Boston Pride today, I probably wouldn't have counted that. When I started marching in Pride, doing so was absolutely a political act; it's not apolitical now, but somewhere along the line we got a level of acceptance that meant banks and beer companies sponsor floats, and tourists bring their children to watch the parade, not just because they support us but because it's a parade,
and kids like parades and floats and marching bands.
It still matters that people are out there, but I don't feel like I'm letting anyone down by passing the baton to someone who handles the late-June heat and sunlight better than I do these days. (That's in the same way that anti-Trump/anti-fascist activism is a relay race, or a marathon, not a sprint.) I was rummaging for buttons the other day, and found one from New York Pride '92. The long march through institutions.
(I need at least one better queer or bisexual icon, though the feminist one also feels appropriate.)