Jerusha and I flew to Los Angeles yesterday to meet my current memoir guru client for an important phase in her project. The three of us will sit down for a few days, and Jerusha will read the entire manuscript out loud while my client and I follow along and take notes. We'll be finding out what pops and what flops and getting a sense of how this book will sound in a readers head.
Jerusha and I were driving to our hotel from LAX, following the directions of the GPS unit we've named A.J. Hep-G (long story), when we came to a roadblock. The first thing that grabbed my eye on the other side of the orange sawhorses was a huge black sign with white lettering: GOD ABHORS YOU. ("Geez," I said to Jerusha. "Welcome to LA.") We'd stumbled onto the LA Pride parade route, and things were just getting underway. As we tried to make our way around the massive gathering (we later heard estimates of 5-600,000 people -- we saw cheerleaders with beards, lots of leather, some seriously big hair, and a whole lot of celebration goin' on, as the song says.
The gay civil rights movement is something I've only just started learning about, and it's pretty interesting. The annual parade commemorates an event that happened in June, 1969 at the Stonewall Bar on Christopher Street in New York.
From John Cloud's article in Time Magazine:
It was 1:20 a.m. when eight cops stomped into the Stonewall Inn, a dive in Manhattan's Greenwich Village district that had no liquor license but served watery drinks to a mix of drag queens, street kids, gay professionals and closeted and straight mafiosi (who ran the place). Within two hours, the Village was bleeding and burning as hundreds rioted...
Prior to the Stonewall riots, raids on gay bars were a regular (and brutal) thing. A variety of factors made it easy to extort from and victimize this particular clientele.
From the Stonewall Place web site:
Instead of quietly slipping away into the night, as we had done for years, hustlers, drag queens, students and other patrons held their ground and fought back. Someone uprooted a parking meter and used it to barricade the door. The agents and police were trapped inside, They wrecked the place and called in reinforcements. Their vehicles raced to the scene with lights glaring and sirens blaring. The crowd grew. Someone set a fire. More people came. For three days, people protested. And for the first time, after innumerable years of oppression, the chant, Gay Power, rang out.
Other than that small knot of protesters by the sawhorses, I saw no sign of hatred or strife and plenty of evidence of God's love. It took us 90 minutes to work our way two miles to the hotel. During all that time, the only thing I saw that disgusted me was that black sign with it's ugly white lie.
Visit the Los Angeles Pride web site to read more about the history of Christopher Street West and learn about the true gay agenda, which is really just the human agenda: love, equality, and pride.