Blogs Oct 12, 2009 at 10:41 am


No coverage?

There's a full color pic on the front page of the NY Times.

Sheesh, we've got two wars, a Great Recession that we're just digging out from, and you want more?
Dan, I think it's you who has forgotten the point of political activism. Political activism should either be used as an excuse to throw a big party or concert, or as a way to get your mediocre musical, comedic, or writing talents recognized.

just sayin'
I left after a little while. It was boring as hell, not a single hot guy there and did I mention that it was boring.

Talk is cheap: we want action and we want action now. Call me if we decide to storm the GOP's Washington headquarters.
This is what people get for limp-wristingly attending only rallies and marches.
We ran across the same fuckwits during the civil-rights movement in the '60s. (Angst-ridden racial poetry is no better than the lesbian variety.) The loudest voices were always just that--voices. When heads were getting bashed in, the voices always seemed to be absent.
You can't just talk your way to enactment of full civil rights for gays. You gotta act, and President Obama is not going to be there for you.
The fact that so many 20 somethings show up and participate lately is encouraging, but they are a few pages behind in even the most recent American history. Sure, they have heard of Stonewall and AIDS etc, but some of them do not realize that the previous Democratic administration gave us DOMA and DADT and that is why there is an urgency and extreme impatience directed at Obama. They may get it to a certain extent...but not as clearly as you (or I) do, Dan.

Sure actions are necessary to accompany speechifiying but too many people think we are being too quick to judge.

Enough getting up to speed. No one had to listen to speeches, but the tedium doesn't excuse the lame for simply walking away because they weren't sufficiently inspired to act.
The true measure if whether this rally was a success or a flop is whether the participants think they've done enough and can now go home satisfied, or whether they're now dedicated to making sure Referendum 71 gets approved.

Time to sign up for a phone bank or a door-knocking session at Time to talke to EVERYONE you know and be sure they understand that if they don't mail back that ballot with "approved" marked, 12,000 domestic partners will lose 250 legal rights that the legislature has already given them.
@1, I found it on A11 below the fold of the NYT that landed at my door this morning.

What made ACT-UP so successful was its determination to harness existing outrage over government's malignant neglect in the face of the actual and imminent hideous deaths of what seemed at the time like everyone we knew or ever would know, including perhaps us.

Today we face real and true but, let's face it, significantly lesser hardships.
Dan, I agree.

Leaders cannot treat the oppressed as mere activists to be denied the opportunity of reflection and allowed merely the illusion of acting, whereas in facet they would continue to be manipulated - and in this case by the presumed foes of manipulation. - Paulo Freire
I showed up late, and i could barely tolerate what was on stage when i got there. I'm with Dan on this one. I already know why I'm there. I don't need to be preached to or lectured. It's a turnoff tantamount to listening to the opposite in a church. Sadly, it's the same thing at every 'rally' i've been to.

My friend and I witnessed more people walking away from Volunteer park than i saw walking towards it. It was sad. I stayed and marched to the end, just because it was kind of depressing how few people actually showed up -- especially compared to the prop 8 one.
Immediately following the Prop 8 protest last year the socialists felt very inspired by the thousands of protesters and organized the Queer Ally Coalition but the subsequent marches did not even come close to the massive Prop 8 march. The socialists have been working very hard over the last few months to organize gays in protests with many messages of immigrant rights, health care reform, etc., etc. But ultimately these gay protests are about socialism and becoming a socialist and not so much about gay rights. If you have problems with it then organize your own damn marches. Yeah, that's what I thought you lazy mother fucker.
ACT-UP were the Teabaggers of their day...
If I'm going to have to put my pants on to go to the next march then count me the fuck out.

Just giving you a heads up...
The secret to this sort of thing was taught to me by a dear lesbian friend years ago. (She uses it every year on the dyke march, as she is unable to listen to lesbian angst poetry either. )

Go to a bar or coffee house on Broadway, and wait until the marchers come by, and join in. When the march is done, go home, or back to a bar or coffee house, or go home. Thus you show your solidarity and support, without having to deal with the usual suspects.

And let me say that it's not just lesbians. There's some pretty tedious expressions of gay activism out there, regardless of gender.

And don't even get me started on the dangers of a misinformed drag queen with a microphone.

Dan is on the rag all the time these days.

The event went really well, the poet was great if a little long, many younger folks, REAL younger folks, and it was their day.

There is a learning curve and Isuspect they will sort better about who gets on the stage. Among the speakers there were five or six, two rallies, who were positive dynamite. Some of the music was excellent as well.

The whole thing was the best march/rally in Seattle for ten years - all done on limited budget, and by a new crop of volunteer activists. Spent real money on good sound systems, smart move.

Got a permit for the whole street for the march, good move. Mix of speakers, gender, race and topic, good move.

The AIDS vigil was powerful. About 150 people, cool clear night, new energy and support for the fight against the monster that has now killed 25 million people world wide --- impressive.

All the nit pickers need to get a life. And all due respect, if there had been chants from the ACT-UP days, they would have been the hit of the day.
It was really, really boring. The usual suspects -- Socialists and other left-leaning groups -- were there. They love a march, and good for them. But, dang, it was dull and predictable. We were ready to march until we heard at about 3:15 that they had NOT YET SECURED A PERMIT! Who organizes these things. The poetry and music were so whiny we couldn't even listen. If this is the best that can be done three weeks before this major election, I fear the results.
My group was worried because we were all running late. Myself only by a few minutes but others by a half hour or so. But we could have been nearly two hours late and not even missed the beginning of the march, much less any crucial information. Had all the advertisment leading up to the march informed us there would have been a lengthy series of speeches songs and poems before any actual marching began I still might have shown up early but at least I would have been prepared and I probably wouldn't have had to watch helplessly as the crowd began to disperse, however slightly.

In their defense there was some mention by the head speakers of problems with the permit we had received that allowed us the right to march through all those busy city streets. Bureaucracy may have played a part and the later speeches and lengthy spoken word poems and may have been merely an attempt to stall and keep the crowd entertained (though unfortunately for some it seems to have had an opposite effect). I haven't seen this noted anywhere else so I hope it gets mentioned at some point. It should also be noted that many of the speeches were engaging and energizing the way a pre-march speech should be, particularly the early ones. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that the wait, whatever its cause, left so many people who were ready to stand up for their rights bored, disillusioned, or frustrated. I hope people don't let their activism stop here and find some way to spread the word, give time, or donate towards getting this referendum passed.
@14 I have a life, we all have lives. We all have stories and we have all had to struggle with sexual expression and identity. But, regrettably, a few people were allowed to hijack this event and turn it into their own personal pity party and make it all, and only, about them. Personal stories are powerful in the right context, (although I think we go way overboard these days) but if you're going to go that route at least attempt to link your struggle to your audience. This was not done.

But Dan is right, the people who came to the march came because they all had their own personal stories and wanted to DO SOMETHING about it. There's a time and place for everything and this wasn't the time and place for someone to stage an epic melodrama written for, directed by and starring only them. This was the time to mobilize to support Referendum 71 and to fight back against the forces in this state that would set us back 10 years by causing its defeat.
As a city employee, I would assume that if you don't have a permit by Friday at 5pm, you won't get another chance until Monday at 8am. But I could be wrong. There might be some way to facilitate it with the police department.

All the paper work we done way early, at the last moments the cops who wee there started to change things - as in 1/2 the street, etc.

After some talking, the cops went back to the plan, per the permit, and the march proceeded.

The poet was way too long - one poem would have been OK.
One singer was horrible - but other than that, it was fine.

The pre rally trend is rather new.... and needs to be cut short and be snappy.
Had to work yesterday and am not sad I missed it.

Tonight though I will be phone banking for Approve Referendum 71. It's from 6-9PM at 720 7th Ave (7th and Cherry).

All of you should also be there.
@ 14, The best march in 10 years?? are you kidding me? you obviously did not go to the post prop 8 rally/march. It was way more grassroots and way less advertised and still way more people, way more upbeat, way more elected officials. You can try and justify it as much as you want but the fact is people were leaving in droves.

This was a total borefest. Way to bring a crowd down and thin it out so the march wouldn't be as crowded.

@ 13, thanks for the tip, my friends and I will certainly do that next time!
I love boring speeches.


Cause lots of people wander off and do something else.
My Domestic Partner and I went into the march from Whidbey Island. It was pathetic! Everyone was energized before the talking started, and wanted to start marching! Once the "stage show" started most of us were turned off, and wanted to leave. We hung on in order to march, but the enthusiasm and need to "vent" was gone.

As some one who is old enough to have been in marches and protests against the Vietnam War and many Gay marches and protests since, I have to say this was pathetic.

After 22 years together my partner and I stand to loose everything we have gained if ref. 71 fails. I hope and pray that future organizers of events like this learn the importance of "seize the moment" and forget about trying to create a floor show. The religious right have mastered it , and our people need to learn it as well!
How did daily newspapers cover the rally and march in DC on Sunday? Check this out:…
oh, and dan's comments about seattle's action on sunday and the speakers and what was said at the mic, he could have been describing the rally from DC on CSPAN.
I was stage managing the rallies and helped to organize the HIV and AIDS vigil the night before the march. While there are some constructive comments here, we need to remember some things. This entire weekend had four events planned: workshops, an HIV and AIDS vigil, the march and a Generation Q Mixer. These young people put weeks worth of effort into this weekend. In addition, they were able to do so with the help of many more seasoned and experienced activists with very respected reputations. They had the support of the progressive community and brought together many organizations to work towards a common goal - something I have not seen any larger mainstream organizations do. Ever. This was a learning experience for everyone involved, as are all large projects like this, and despite opposition, challenges and lots of daunting work, everyone pulled their weight and made a valid and necessary contribution. I have been working with at-risk LGBT youth since I was 16 years old and I have never seen a more mature, accountable and positive group of young people. If anyone has a big problem with it then I echo the comment above: either join in the fight or create your own groups but don't knock the work of these people if you have no idea what went into putting this weekend together. I am proud to have been a part of this and I hope regardless of your personal opinion we all remember that there is a lot at stage with Referendum 71 and we ALL need to get involved.

- Meighan Doherty
President, Washington Marriage Alliance
Treasurer, The Backpack Project
I am very proud of this march, and I am very proud of the people who made this weekend happen. It began with 4 young people: all under 22.
Dan, for all the reading that I enjoy and learn from in Savage Love, I feel emboldened to say that your writing inhibits the youth, the young leaders who are taking action, and taking action now. Did you see the march? It was led by all ages, but more pronounced was the presence of very young people. I was there and took part in helping to organize the weekend. The only people who seem to see with eyes of hope and an actual vision now are the youth.
I want to let you know, that this march is only the beginning of things to come.
We have a lot of leaders who are young and are beginning to do great things, and learning from the current older leaders. Read this and then maybe you'll begin to see that we had purpose and goals:…

From every community organization I've talked to and been a part of, I want to let you know that you have managed to alienate a lot of people who used to be big supporters of you and really were behind you as a leader. Now, I read The Stranger, a little jaded, a little wary, and hopeful that you will write to support, rather than discourage the optimism and activism of the young generation of leaders.

A 19 year old art student.
A good man could cure that Lesbian angst

Intention only counts in Nobel Peace Prizes. We need results. A mind fuckingly dull rally with (bad) angry lesbian poetry and awful singing (or any poetry or singing at all for that point) is not the result we need. If you can't say it in 15 minutes. It's probably not worth saying. Any pre-march rally that lasts longer than 30 minutes is just grandstanding and ego.
You know what's funny...Dan Savage was invited to be a participant in this weekend (namely, the Generation Q Mixer on Sunday night) and he ignored the multiple invitation requests. Oh well.

And another point, the poet was a trans-man- not an angsty lesbian.

But seriously, we will take this feedback and build upon it for future events and would encourage anybody who would like to make a positive impact to the coaltion that put this on, to go to, give us your email, and join the conversation to bring full equality to the LGBTQ community.

Posting angry comments is a great venting tool, but we must move forward, learn from the mistakes that were made, recognize the successes, and keep going.

One of the many organizers.
As one of the many grassroots, volunteer organizers who helped to pull off this weekend of events, I will be one of the first to say that we did not organize things perfectly. For many of us, this was our first time organizing a big rally. We will learn from this and do it better next time. We have a long way to go to win full equality and there is much future work to be done.

Real quick on the march permit issues: We did have a permit long before yesterday. However, the cops decided to make us wait to march. So as they're telling us we have to wait until 3.30pm, rally-ers are telling us we need to speed things along.

On the long opening rally, we tried to switch things up. We certainly need to be smarter about what types of speakers and performers are effective in that setting. Volunteer Park is a great place for a longer rally. I was thinking next time we might want to end up there after the march so those who want to stick around for the rally can and others can leave. But then I suppose we'd get complaints about marching uphill or it being too cold as Volunteer Park is in the shadows later in the day. You can never please everyone.

Regardless, like Marley said, get involved. I hope the Monday morning quarterbacks will jump in the game next Sunday. We definitely need more people helping out. If you want to help build this new civil rights movement (I await the mean comments on that), join us!


PS -- Dan, while I thought this posting was condescending, I've really liked what you've had to say about Obama's HRC dinner speech.
A good woman could cure that trans-man angst
What, no interpretive modern dance to go with the angsty poetry?
Interpretive modern dance makes me want to smash storefront windows.
I'm a straight white male, but I hate bigotry and am firmly supportive of the LGBT cause. However, I'd rather pound my balls flat with a meat cleaver than listen to angry lesbian poetry.
@27, 28 & 32: Seriously? We're three weeks before the election and this was just a 'practice run'? You act like you'll get it together for the 'next time'. Newsflash: there won't be a next time! If we lost in November, we pretty much lose permanently. Are you planning a Ref 71 march for post election if we lose a la Prop 8? Fat lot of good it'll do.
@ 28 - "The only people who seem to see with eyes of hope and an actual vision now are the youth."

What an idiotic ignorant prejudicial thing to say. Are you kidding me?? Do you even have a clue about all the creative visionary things that us "old farts" over 22 do in this community? The prop 8 march earlier in the year was put together by a young guy and it was planned in less than two weeks and had more people, more signs, and better motivating speakers.

You can defend all you want but the fact doesn't change that people were leaving right and left. If you wanted to have a lillith fair festival to bring people down first you should have billed it as that and then announced the time the actual march was going to take place.
The prop 8 rally was a Winner, since it was the point, super charged the crowd, and got us going down the road shouting our heads off. The rally at Westlake was just as super charged.

It sounds like overplanning here...
The rally and march yesterday were not only about Ref-71. They were planned before Ref-71 got on the ballot. They were planned as local events in solidarity with the DC National Equality March, which was called to demand full equality under all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. That was the message of the Seattle events as well -- and all the publicity and media materials stated that clearly. We never promoted it as a Ref-71 rally. It was an equality rally -- of which Ref-71 is one part. So yes, there will be more marches and rallies, even after Ref-71.

If you want a professionally organized Ref-71 march and rally, you should talk to the official, professional campaign. We did talk to them and they did not want to organize such an event. So we took it upon ourselves.

If you all want to organize a rally just as big and angry and exciting as the November 15 anti-Prop 8 rally, then please do! I will be there! However, it's been almost a year now and no one else has tried to do anything like that. Let me know who wants to make it happen and I'll help.

That may be why so many woman you have been with turned lesbian.
Dude, I understand you're old and it's hard to stand for so long, but hundreds of thousands of people loved marching through washington.
I offer a money-back guarantee!
as a lesbian, I apologize for our lesbian youth and (god forbid) trannie boys and not teaching them to shut the fuck up and march,.. its swung so far the other way from when I was organizing the 93 MOW out of Pittsburgh; then we had a hard time laying any structure to stuff and keep the kids from marching off half cocked to break windows.
now the youth would rather slam some poetry or carry on about why artists will save us all rather than actually do something save-ish. very annoying.
Womyn, let us draw a moratorium on poetry.. there is no reason why a rally at the front of a march shouldnt be 5 mons of actual rally talk.. "We are pissed and not going to take it anymore" followed by 5 mins of "dont engage the Phelps family, stay on the righthand side of the street" or whatever the rules are for us to manage to not get the march shut down by the cops.
then shut up and march.
all the poetry and gentle angry people singing can be saved for the event at the END of the march. so you arent holding up the actual marching.
I was there, and guys, I feel for you, I really do. You worked hard, and everyone is bitching at you, and you're young, and it was your first try. But your first try was lame. Common sense should have told you that people would leave if you made them listen to your friend's band and a poetry reading. You should be respectful of people's time and energy - there's only so much of it to go around.

Really, I would feel a lot worse for you if you copped to your responsibility for the whole mess just a little bit. You lost a good quarter of your crowd during the open mic portion of the event, which is a shame, and no one's fault but your own.

And seriously - at least it could have been poetry about sexual/gender oppression, rather than sad blackbirds and how much you miss your ex's sweet bod.
God I'm glad Iowa doesn't have initiatives. All we have to do is keep dems in power in one of the houses of the legislature next year and it will put off any vote on gay marriage until 2016 at the earliest.
And by then, of course, any Constitutional amendment will lose. So, stop electing your judges, get rid of the initiatives, and join the world of equality folks.
#48 --- from the other Washington on the left coast

we won't - initiative and referendum are enshrined in our constitution - and - by vote took the sales tax off food and pharmacy.

here to stay ... for the good reasons. power of the people.
@ 42, Dude, read what you are actually commenting on and stop posting your ignorant youngin comments about the DC rally on these conversations about Seattle.

@ 49, power to the people is when you get to vote on your legislators to make decisions. More often than not it is the right wingnuts (ie Eyman) who get them up and cause trouble for the state and costs tons of money to fight them.

@ 44, lol

@ 40, on the weekend before ballots go out, the focus should have been on Ref 71. It is stupid to just have a "general march" when such a crucial election is coming up.
I didn't make it to the rally at the park but did join the march as it got on Broadway.

My opinion is this. We all learn from what works and what doesn't. The people that put this together were doing the best they could. As someone that has tried to reach out for help in planning things like fundraisers when I was young and had no experience it is HARD. I know when I asked for help and advice I was ignored. I imagine these people who represent our future and our hope may have experienced the same thing. I commend you for doing the best you could. I admire you for putting yourselves out there. What would anyone else have done if the cops, seeing a bunch of 22 and unders, decided to start changing the rules from those on the permit. What do any of us do when we need more time. Throw something out there and hope you don't loose your audience. So what if it was 30 minutes of angst ridden poetry by a man that is probably facing more discrimination on a daily basis that much of the LGBT community. If that is what you have to work with then by all means keep something going until the cops agree to do as the permit from the city says they are supposed to.

I was proud to march in this event. I am proud of the people that put it together. I hope that everyone will educate their friends, families and neighbors about the importance of voting Yes on R 71 and attend the fundraisers happening to fuel the Yes on R 71 campaign like the ReBar Tea Dance on Sunday from 4-9.

Sister Angela Merici
Sisters of the Mother House of Washington

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