10 Things I Learned at the Big Gay March


By Tim Murphy

As I sit in my V.I.P. seat up against the bathroom on the Bolt Bus back from D.C. to New York this Monday morning, waiting for last night's Ambien to wear off, I reflect on the 10 most important things I learned this weekend at the National Equality March (and related alcoholic events) about the struggle for LGBT equality, about ourselves, and about D.C. gays and their fashion sense.

Yes, this may sound silly, but, well, have you ever, when you finally saw a famous person in person, been like, "Oh, they really exist, they are not just a digital concoction"? Well, that's how I felt when I saw the president give his oratorio homsexualis at the big fancy Human Rights Campaign dinner Saturday night, the eve of the march. There he was at the podium, though, frankly, from the press balcony, I was so far away, it could have been a stand-in. (Fred Armisen, perhaps?) The overwhelmingly white, male, tuxedo'd diners went gaga (I'll get to her in a minute) over O-Man, even though he didn't lay out a time line or a concrete step for anything except to say that he'd soon sign into law the Matthew Shepard measure, which will expand hate-crimes legislation to include LGBTs.

The president himself made this clear when he said he was honored to be "opening" for Gaga at the HRC dinner. And, well, let's face it, every generation of gay activists needs their extreme diva to attach to, their fabulous bespangled mascot, some outsize gay who vocalizes all their dreams, hopes, desires. Judy for Stonewall, Madonna for the ACT UP era, and now Gaga for the gay kids, except the cool thing is that Gaga is unambivalently into being the celeb face of gay rights in a way that Madonna never fully has been. At her tender age, self-described bi-chick Gaga is smarter and more articulate and, somehow, despite the futuro-sexbot costuming, more worthy of respect than Madonna was at the same age (and also perhaps a bit more humble?), perhaps because Gaga grew up in Manhattan while Madonna only had Detroit? Let's think
about that a bit. At the march (see a clip of her speech on the right), Gaga told Towleroad's so-cute-I-want-to-pinch-his-chunky-cheeks Corey Johnson that gays have been her best friends as long as she can remember, "I'm here to protect my friends." Gaga, you are awesome. But you still look like Janice the Muppet.

3. SHERRY WOLF DOESN'T NEED A MIC. Sherry Wolf is an author (Sexuality and Socialism) and activist who spoke alongside Cleve Jones the day before the march at a packed talk at the way-cool cafe Busboys and Poets. "This is our Rosa Parks moment," she told the lefty-ish LGBT-ish crowd. Something about how we wouldn't be on the back of the bus anymore. And also lots of talk about American Empire, and how LGBTs are all caught up in the same struggles as other working-class Americans. But mostly, what you (and Sherry) must know is that Sherry didn't really need that mic. Because she is the World's Loudest Woman. And she probably didn't need the mic she had the next day when she spoke to tens of thousands of people in front of the Capitol. She is That Loud. But certainly also very smart.

She was always the butchest of the four Sex and the City gals, with her love of pro basketball and beer and all that, but still, how cool is it to see Miranda Hobbes up there talking about equal rights for her and her wife instead of bitching to Steve and poor little Brady about how bored she is in Brooklyn without her girlydrink-swilling girlfriends? A bunch of actors came down to D.C. from New York for the march with the Broadway Impact group, and Cynthia was one of them, and I wish it had been my shoulder she had slept on in those wee early morning hours, and perhaps my Dunkin' Donuts napkin that had gently wiped that bit of cream cheese from the side of her mouth as she dozed, dreaming of her next substantive off-Broadway role. Love you, Cyn!