PALM SPRINGS — There has been much discussion about whether women should continue to support the Women’s March because of the views of a handful of participants in a Movement that has united millions. This is my perspective as someone who came out two years after Stonewall.
In the early days of the Gay Rights Movement, I was part of groups that gathered in small rallies during the 1970s. We were new to public gatherings, because we feared physical harm. Being gay was not always as fun and fabulous as it may appear today.
Inevitably, the horrid North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) (the man-boy love group of pedophiles) would try to take the mic to hijack, or at least infect, the budding movement with their toxicity.
We had to talk to each other (a difficult task in a community of marginalized people) about who we were as a people. We had to ask ourselves if these fringe fanatics were going to stop us from forming a lasting movement.
We had to decide if we should continue to gather and march with these guys shouting at our events. Should we retreat if it was beyond our power to quiet every voice that would drag us down and taint our intent to rise in solidarity? After all, we most assuredly did not stand in solidarity with those characters.
We decided, because we knew then, and it has proved to be true, that the movement was bigger than a handful of fringe characters with megaphones.
And here we are today almost 50 years after my first Gay Rights Rally, and almost 50 years after I first heard those ugly voices which we decided would not let define or deter us — and we have emerged as a true and lasting LGBT movement.
At yesterday’s Palm Springs Women’s March, a senior woman of color reminded the youthful participants that all movements have voices we reject. All movements, even on the left, have misogynists, racists, anti-Semites, anti social characters. It is a sad but real fact of life. And that fact of life raises the question every activist must ask themselves: Do we let evil win?
Women don’t get many days to ourselves, personally, professionally or politically. The Women’s March is our ONE day that should be ours and we need to ask ourselves once again: Do we allow a handful of zealots to steal it from us? Do we let evil win?
Evil does not get to win sisters.
Act Up…Fight Back…because Silence = Death