Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Once and Future Marches

Yesterday, I contacted the contact for information about our local Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march, inquiring about whether PFLAG would be welcome in it.  
She promised to call me back.  
I also posted the information to AARP's "AARP Prism Network Online" group.  
My AARP mailbox alerted me that "Jane," a group member, had posted something related to my info. 

       Did she call back?  and, good for you! 
     Bayard Rustin is one of our gay history heroes, for sure.

My reply: 
She DID call back.  We join the march at 11 a.m. at the Amtrak station and will march with the aforementioned items( see "Outing Bayard Rustin" ), AND the PFLAG group banner, to the fairgrounds.

I reported this to the PFLAG group at last night's meeting and our vice president was delighted.  Monday's her birthday.  She thought this was the "keenest" present she'd get.

Our current president, Jeane, and her husband Dave founded the group.  Definitely "friends," and very active.

The guest speakers were the former head of Ally Alliance in the SF bay area and her co-worker there.  Both had worked there years, and both had their positions eliminated (all positions were eliminated, in fact) by the economy tanking.  So they're continuing on doing what they were doing as volunteers.

I had to leave early (rehearsal), and gave them both my card, with e-mail address.  I want to see everything - especially their draft position papers and informational packets for schools.  Recent legislation requiring anti-discrimination policies and fair treatment of all students are currently being skirted by an "opt-out" status to parents who don't want any mention of gender equality, same-sex equality, etc.

And before the meeting, I got to chat with Blaine and his lover of many years, and discovered he'd graduated from my high school two years ahead of me.  His brother was one year behind me.  And now, he's the Gay/Straight Alliance advisor for our high school.

I'm looking forward to possibly speaking to the GSA.

The most heartening news was that, in the opinion of the Ally speakers (both with 5-15 years of teaching experience), the climate in classrooms has changed dramatically.  A large majority (about 3/4) of students know someone gay, accept and welcome their gay friends and relatives, and speak up on our behalf.  Mind you, this is in ordinary small charter schools as well as larger non-charters.  In classrooms, not just at GSA meetings.

I'm beginning to think that there may be a distant light at the end of the tunnel, and that it's NOT an on-coming train.  "These kids these days" may be derided by some, but I think the new generation gives great reason for hope - and though it's been in short supply of late, hope is something we can all use.

This will be the first time I've marched since the 1978 "No on Prop 6" Sacramento demonstration.

I was one of an estimated 80,000 marchers who turned out in the pouring rain to urge Governer Jerry Brown to fight Prop. 6's ban on gay teachers.  Gray Davis spoke in support.  Pouring rain.  My nice woolen pants and overcoat were completely sodden.

After a two-hour drive back to San Francisco, we sat around a fireplace in various states of undress, running dryers-full of clothes and towels, feverishly discussing strategy, and warming up with Irish coffees.
Not everyone was in the disco in the '70s.  

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