Sixteen years is a long time! I swear to baby Jesus, everybody and their extended families showed up to this.
Record scratch moment; backstory time (I'll try to keep it short, sorry): I am embarrassed to admit that I have never been to a rally of any kind. I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and separated myself from that organization when I was 20 (almost seven years ago). Not nearly soon enough, I know. But even as a kid it was a huge struggle for me to try to adapt my LIGAF attitude to what my family's religion was dictating to me. I have always been accepting of and interested in all varieties of people. I don't know why, and I caught major fucking flack for it from the congregation, but that's just how I am. (I think it may be because I have disassociation issues in general, and most of my life I've felt like an alien in my own surroundings, so I never understood the "categorization," I guess, of people, and how I was "supposed" to feel about people who are this way as opposed to people who are that way, but anyway....)
The one thing that did stick with me from my upbringing was the admonition that I should be no part of this world. To people in my former faith, being no part of this world means that God will be able to recognize you as one of his chosen people if you avoid associating with "worldly people" (that is really what they call everyone on Earth who is not a JW). This means I wasn't allowed to have friends who weren't Jehovah's Witnesses, I couldn't participate in any after-school programs, and there had to be a damn good reason for me to be in any kind of club or program that happened during school hours.
Even after I dropped that bullshit, I still had a very deep feeling that I was no part of this world. (Thanks, religion.) So I had a heavy disconnect from basically everything, society-wise, for a very long time, and I felt that I had no right to participate in anything no matter how envious I was of people who could. And I am horribly shy around people I admire. (It is really bad.)
BUT NOW! I have overcome a lot of that garbage (still very shy, though) and I realized, "Hey, I can participate....? Well, why the fuck not?"
Just for the record, I am a cis het woman and I am an ally for many things. I love love love to promote and donate to people and organizations that are all about helping people who really need it, taking a stand against fucked up bullshit, and embracing all good things that are inclusive as opposed to exclusive. But now I'm a rally-er, too!
Everybody brought their fucking A game to this rally and it was delightful. (Just to note, I paid attention to the "no photo/video area here" signs.)
Aleksa Manila is a fucking boss and an awesome host. Basically the embodiment of community activism. The Gay City Pridefest booth was handing out free home HIV test kits and Aleksa made sure everyone knew about it. She fights to raise awareness and acceptance for LGBTQ people, and especially reaches out to Pacific Islanders. To the left is Rae Spoon (http://www.raespoon.com/), who lives in Montreal and is a musician as well as an author. (Sorry, I don't know how to do those fancy link things like ya'll be doin'. :) Their music is gorgeous. Like electronica blended with country if country were more prairie/electro and less whiny/steel guitary. In the back is Miss U.T.O.P.I.A. (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance) Seattle, Tanya, and someone else who's name I didn't catch. (I had to go to the bathroom really bad, okay, I'm sorry.)
Rae again! There is a series of photos I took of what seemed to be an impromptu interpretive dancer, but I don't think I'll post them. He was amazing, though. Completely. Wonderful.
This is my mister having his photograph taken with a copy of Seattle Gay News; DOMA IS DEAD! = best headline ever. (He told me I didn't have to obscure his face but I did it anyway just to fuck with him. He hates that happy smiley. XD)
Just a fraction of the crowd.
Siiiiigh. This was a lovely night. I met so many genuine, happy, goodhearted people and there were ZERO haters. I wish every day could be like this all the damn time. Everywhere. "You are all so beautiful, so many beautiful genders! Let's take a 10 minute break and everyone get to know each other, alright?" - Aleksa <3
And lastly, I suppose: this is me being converted by a Socialist. Just kidding. I was already a Socialist. (He said he's 6'6".... What ya'll think? I'm 5'6". I think he's a fibber. :)
"Onward to Trans Equality."
My heart has a serious case of The Happies, right now.