A Reason to Protest
I have participated in a protest. It was a couple of years ago, when the California Supreme Court was considering whether to overturn the recently enacted Proposition 8, the initiative that stripped away marriage rights from gay, lesbian, and bi people of the state. I was outraged by the arguments being made, arguments that belittled the love of gay couples, that said that people were just fine with keeping gay people as second class citizens. And when the judgement came down that indeed the people had a right to not only vote on the civil rights of minorities, but to also strip away rights that that same court had recognized, well, I had to do something.
I'm not a protesting kind of guy. If I see something wrong, I do what I can to fix it from within the system. But sometimes the system lets you down, and I felt that in this case, the system had certainly let my partner and me down, had betrayed us. So when I heard about a protest being planned by "Join the Impact" for San Jose, I knew I had to be there.
My partner and I gathered in front of the Metropolitan Community Church in San Jose with a couple dozen other like-minded people. When the time came, we all started marching to city hall, chanting time tested slogans (some of which were a bit of a stretch, to be honest) and making a lot of noise. We got a lot of support from people driving by in the form of horn honks and cheers.
As we approached city hall, we merged with three other streams of protesters until the crowd was well over a thousand people. It was a joy to roam around the crowd reading the signs and t-shirts, and seeing the amazing variety and diversity of the people gathered there. The speeches were, well, public speeches. The PA system was inadequate for the task. And the couple of people there heckling the protest were annoying. I eventually got bored (as I do with many public gatherings), and just roamed around taking pictures.
All in all it was an interesting experience. I don't think I'd rush to participate again, but who knows. Perhaps something will happen that will cause me to be similarly outraged, moved enough to get past my feelings of ridiculousness, and join the crowd.