Discrimination Death March, Silver Lake, 11/4

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I always understood the general rule to be: one in 10 people is gay.  This ratio, which apparently has been oft-repeated to a point where it still remains lore 10 years after I first heard it (the gay population apparently has not adjusted for inflation), is a nice shorthand for: it could be you.  (One of my favoritest people of all time, Jane Lynch, interviewed with Terry Gross on NPR yesterday, and this was her reaction to her 20something realization that she is gay: “Oh man, really?”).  The threat that you could be the one left holding the rainbow flag is the greatest fear tactic of all: it results in the simultaneous internalization and externalization of one’s homophobia.  This is, in part, what moves certain people to go to the polls, draw the little iron curtain, and, in the comfortably private, if not stuffy, polling station, mark a mark that will seal the fate for all those ones in tens, if not themselves.  And they are, of course, protecting the children.  Remember the children!

Yesterday – one year after Prop. 8 passed here, and one day after a similar referendum passed in MaineEquality Network organized “Death to Discrimination,” a march-and-mourn protest and rally in Silver Lake.  The LA Times estimates that 60 people were present when the march started, but grew to a bit over 200 as the march marched up Vermont and down Sunset towards its destination in front of Le BarCito at Sunset Junction (overall, a decent turnout, but a far, far cry from the 700+ people who RSVP’d for the event on Facebook — like certain people I’m sometimes frustrated to know, you’ll always have flakes).  As the speakers began their spiels to the converted, the number of people dwindled – slowly at first, then “exponentially faster,” as Narinda Heng, my fellow mourner, observed.  Tip to future organizers: a rally and protest aren’t the Oscars.  Keep the speeches short well before the orchestra starts to hum its boredom.

A handful of pictures from the post-march rally, after the jump.

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Stir Up a Tempest in a Teapot Tomorrow in Griffith Park

IMG_1712The Cirque du Soleil may be in Santa Monica, but tomorrow (Sunday, October 25), another circus comes to town.  The Tea Party Express protesters (who are often referred to, with or without irony, as the “teabaggers”) arrive in Los Angeles tomorrow to hold a protest in Griffith Park.  They promise to bring along their Lipton tea bags, stars & stripes clothing, and badly misspelled signs.  What are they protesting?  You can ask, but don’t expect a coherent answer.  Instead, you can come and join the counter-protest organized by the Courage Campaign, RENWL, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The tea party protest takes place at 4:30 p.m. at the Pad D – Crystal Springs picnic area in the park (the address listed is simply the park’s main address, 4730 Crystal Springs Road), and the counter-protest gathers at the same location at 4 p.m. for a preemptive rally.  Whatever side you’re on, this promises to be quite the entertaining event.

42nd Anniversary event of the Black Cat Bar Protest for Gay Rights

Just in case anybody could forget that the struggle for gay civil rights has been ongoing for decades, I had it brought to my attention that this Wednesday is the 42nd Anniversary event of the Black Cat Bar Protest for Gay Rights. For those who don’t know where the Black Cat is, it is now a gay Latin bar, and you’ve all seen it–it’s on Sunset right in the middle of Sunset Junction. While it’s now called Le Barcito, it’s an official Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and still sports its original sign with a black’n’white pussy cat.

In 1966, New Year’s Eve, the Black Cat was ground central for horrific police brutality as plainclothes officers viciously beat revelers for…kissing at midnight. About a month later a protest vigil of about 200 people gathered at Sunset & Sanborn to stand in opposition to the brutality and discrimination. In 1966, that was a hell of a vigil–when just being openly gay could be grounds for arrest as a sex offender. This brave protest occurred two years before New York’s groundbreaking Stonewall Riots.

Here’s all the info on the event. Today, when we’re all still fighting for everyone to stand on equal ground, I think it’s also important to remember from whence we’ve come.