10 Things I Learned at the Big Gay March


By Tim Murphy

Where are the insane, damaged young queens, the terrifying lesbians bristling with homicidal rage? If there's one thing I noted sweeping the crowds yesterday en route to, and in front of, the Capitol, it's that the crowds were (in addition to being, in my highly unscientific view, overwhelmingly white) young, which is amazing and exciting and as it should be, and it's very moving to see a gay-rights and AIDS-struggle vet like Cleve Jones inspiring these kids to rise up. But, kids, you are all so normal looking. Even if you are not as damaged and twisted as we 40-somethings and up are, can't you at least look like you are? You are not edgy with your American Apparel-Human Rights Campaign "Legalize Gay" T-shirt. And you were all wearing them. Every single one of you, and those of you who say you weren't -- don't even, I know in your heart you were wearing one.

Euh, this is such a painful issue I can't even form it into a declarative statement -- it just comes out as "an issue." D.C. gays, where do you I begin with you? I love your city -- it is very beautiful. Coming from New York, I certainly envy your lovely townhouses, your deco and mid-century apartment buildings, the fact that you live in a city but you still have trees and sky views around you, that people don't walk on the streets like they're stalking, or being stalked by, the Devil. But D.C. gays...you have to put the flare-leg jeans away. The short hair with the little gelled quiff in the front. The A&F fetish -- at your age. You are not doing the equality cause any good carrying on like it's still 2002, before even Massachusetts had marriage, or worse yet, like you're stuck in the N'Sync 1998 warp, before even Vermont had civil unions. At least buy some straight-leg jeans and grow out your hair a little. I know there's not much you can do about the tribal arm tattoos without some expense, time, and discomfort.

I was actually hoping to see more sassy posters. My friend Harold Levine, who nicely arranged for me to stay with Bob and Alex, two lovely, gracious lawyers who basically live in a mansion, carried a funny sign reading, "Zsa Zsa Gabor had nine husbands, I only want one," but as he rightly pointed out, most of the well-adjusted, fresh-faced kids who dominated the march didn't know who Zsa Zsa Gabor was. So probably the two best signs I saw were (I'm paraphasing on this one), "Jesus hung around with 12 dudes...go figure the odds." And: "Jesus Had Two Dads." Which I had to think about for a minute, then, I was like, DUH! Carpenter Joseph...and GOD!

Which is making this hard to write, and making it hard to recall much of the past two days. I liked the dance party Blowoff, which is thrown by H'sker D' guy Bob Mould and Richard Morel. It was at the satisfyingly dive-y 9:30 Club in the gritty-turned-hipster U Street area, where after the party I had sick-good fried chicken wings, mac and cheese, waffles, collard greens, and candied yams at this old soul place called Oohs and Aahs. Oh, but I didn't tell you about the
moment at Blowoff where Lady Gaga appeared in the V.I.P. balcony. It was cool, because she just stood there with her glass of (I think) wine, wearing the same dark round glasses and black, pouf-skirt dress she'd worn to do her acoustic piano version of "Imagine" at the HRC dinner earlier that night (where she changed the lyrics a bit: "Only Matthew in the sky..." That was lovely.) No announcement or "Here's Lady Gaga!" or anything, so most guys at first thought she was a drag impersonator. Then people were like, "OMFG, it's really her." And the gays started worshiping her from below like poverty-stricken Argentinian serfs did to Evita, waving up to her and screaming. And she was awesome, she didn't smile, she just kind of feebly waved and at one point leaned over like she was trying to hear what someone was saying, then picked up her wine and left. She gave total hard, stern, bored bitch-ass diva (with a touch of Muppet), which, after the role she played this weekend, she totally deserved to do, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

You know, all things considered, having learned eight things at the march is enough. Go to this website and figure out whom you're supposed to bitch at in your state to get your rights and all that crap, wasn't that the point of this party? It wasn't just for the chance to do drugs in a new city, and D.C. gays, it certainly wasn't for you to show off your flare-leg jeans. Let's keep our eyes on the prize.

For more info on the March On Washington, head over to Advocate.com

To read our September cover story on Lady Gaga, click here. To see our '50s B Horror film photo shoot with the pop star'cum'activist, click here.

Send a letter to the editor about this article.