And so the long, spotted career of George W. Bush is ending with a bang, like a leopard’s tail caught in a bear trap. In my neighborhood the parties went on into the wee hours: they blocked off the streets, showed Obama’s speech on an enormous screen, set off fireworks. I’m guessing they had all this ready in case Prop 8 failed and, even though it passed, they thought they might as well pull out the stops and the sparklers anyhow.
The following night, of course, the protests began. I saw my first actual protest that night, a few hundred people spontaneously marching down Castro Street, blocking the intersection and chanting slogans and generally pissing off bus drivers.
I saw the huge anti-war marches, of course, back when anyone remembered the war was going on, but those were pre-arranged affairs, held with the approval of the city. Nothing was being disrupted and no one was being inconvenienced, forced to listen against his will. (So that one pro-war guy living in San Francisco was safe from our rhetoric.) This, by contrast, was a genuine minority uprising, whose only real power, when the majority rules them, is to assemble in what numbers they have and stand in your path until you relent.
I mean, 200 people at Castro and 18th are standing in the path of other members of their own minority. But the emotion was real.
What struck me, as I listened to them shouting “Gay, straight, black, white: same struggle, same fight,” was the lack of retribution. This proposition was based on the straight community’s fear of the gay community, but honestly, there were about ten straight people out that night and hundreds of gay people and no one was bashing me in the head or looting my home. If the gay community hasn’t turned on us by NOW, do you really think they’re going to? Let’s give them some civil rights already. I’m pretty sure they won’t be using them to bring you down.
Later on in the week it got bigger, and spread to Dolores Park. Want your park back? Sorry, we feel that letting you use this park will threaten our own traditional gay parks. But how about a parking LOT? It’s the same size, you’ll never know the difference.
This is not my protest photo.