Marching Banned?

By Liz Massey, April 2018 Issue.

The first year I lived here, I remember the desire to bring back a Pride parade to the festivities, a component that had been missing for part of the ’90s. This year, Phoenix Pride expects more than 2,000 individual participants in the parade, and more than 15,000 spectators.his issue of Echo ushers in Pride season in Phoenix. In my more than two decades in the Valley of the Sun, I have seen our Pride organization grow from a sturdy volunteer group to a robust professional event management nonprofit.

Our city should be proud of the growth of Phoenix Pride – the organization puts on an amazing large-scale event and is able to benefit the community year-round through its scholarships and grants. But every year around parade time, there is at least a few discussions of how Pride events have evolved into celebrations from their roots as protest activities. These kitchen-table debates on whether that is a good thing or a bad thing take on a new significance in 2018, when LGBTQ supporters and others are taking part in marches and other protests associated with “the resistance.”

A few years ago, a social media contact of mine (temporarily) de-friended me because I didn’t agree with his assertion that protest marches were out of date and politically useless. I do acknowledge that the Internet has made it far easier to organize large demonstrations, and that without a coherent framework to fit a protest “event” into, marches can end up mostly being displays of personal self-expression, instead of powerful tools for promoting a desired social agenda. And not every mass protest march bears fruit: we can probably all name a “Million _____ March” from the past few years that failed to move the needle for its participants.

Despite this, I argue that the proliferation of marches and live protests we see popping up all over the country is a sign of health for our democracy, and a positive development for all marginalized communities, including our own LGBTQ clan. Marches continue to have a positive role to play in social change movements for many reasons.

  • Marches can rattle those in power, in a good way.

The 1971 May Day protests in Washington, D.C., over the Vietnam War and the 1975 Women’s Strike in Iceland telegraphed the message that huge segments of the population of these two countries were ready to force major changes. And both governments shifted their tactics to cope with the protests in a way that ultimately was more in the direction of the protestors’ desires.

  • Marches can provide touchpoints for an ongoing reform movement.

The early Pride marches reminded a world that we were here, we were queer and nothing – including AIDS, fag-bashing and attempts to enshrine anti-gay prejudice – would send us back into the closet. The worldwide anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s was sparked in part by the 1976 Soweto Uprising in South Africa. And the 1963 March on Washington was preceded and followed by many years of protests during the Civil Rights Era.

  • Marches offer a unique platform for meeting other activists.

Large-scale protests expose participants to new ideas and new approaches. When I spoke with LGBTQ people who went to the 1993 and 2000 Marches on Washington, they mentioned how empowering it felt to meet other queer people from around the country. Last year, the Women’s March activities in Washington, D.C., and in other large cities provided a much-needed place for people to focus their energy, and to discover how large the resistance really was.

  • Marches can provide vital and irreplaceable “framing moments.”

Martin Luther King Jr. had given parts of his “I Have A Dream” speech before August 1963 … but standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, it allowed the Civil Rights Movement to seize the stage and express the values of equality-minded Americans in a new way.

For all their power, marches are far from the only tool in our activism toolbox. LGBTQ community members have used direct action “zaps,” political theater, sit-ins, voter registration drives, and the cultivation of allies to achieve goals – like improved HIV+ care and ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – once considered impossible. But the symbolism of marches continues to resonate, both within and beyond our community.

As Nathan Heller, a writer for The New Yorker magazine, observed last year, “Why did [the Women’s March] matter? Because we were there. Self-government remains a messy, fussy, slow, frustrating business. We do well to remind those working its gears and levers that the public — not just the appalled me but the conjoined us whom the elected serve — is watching and aware. More than two centuries after our country took its shaky first steps, the union is miles from perfection. But it is still on its feet, sometimes striding, frequently stumbling. The march goes on, and someday, not just in our dreams, we’ll make it home.”

Keep readingShow less
WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less