Sometimes in November Pt. 3

Sunday, December 04, 2005

So there we were, in front of City Hall. When we stopped in front of the building, we got a huge cheer from everyone, it was quite moving actually. But then we kinda didn’t know what was next. A local reporter summed it up perfectly when he wrote that everyone had an "Ok, now what?" look on their face, haha. So we all sat down and waited for the organizers to, well, organize something. They told us to chant “Free gay rights!”, which I thought was a little silly, I mean, where had they been imprisoned or something. Hehe. Then we all called the mayor to come and meet us. When nothing happened, the Organizer stormed inside and we all held our breaths. What would happen? Would the mayor shun us? Would he leave us looking like fools outside? Suddenly the Organizer came back out and told us all to march in, we were gonna get an audience with the mayor! So in we went, to the thunderous applause of the crowd (who had begun to disperse by now).

Ok, once inside, that’s were things (in my opinion) took a nosedive. We were joined by the mayor and the city council in their main chambers, and the press was there too. We all sat down and the co-Organizer read a prepared statement which, again in my opinion, was a masterpiece of ambiguity. He called for “respect and support” for gay rights; the mayor looked blankly and said “Ok, of course”. He called for “more support” for local HIV/AIDS organizations. Again, the mayor said “Ok”. Then the mayor said a few things in that highly political dialect that really says absolutely nothing, yet sounds convincing but safely omits any real commitment. Then some of the guys in the march actually asked for something concrete, like for the police department to discpline certain local police cars that had harassed them and asked them for money. Finally, a bit of reason and reality. Then the shit hit really the fan.

Some context: supposedly, a few days before the march, two city council members had opposed the whole idea and the press made a big sideshow about it. The organizers and the two female council members had a war of words going in the papers by the time the event came along. Towards the end of our audience with the mayor, the main Organizer took the mic and started yelling vulgarities at the two city council members, and he had a pretty loud voice so it was especially unnerving. Then some more information came to light: apparently, he held a small public office in one of the nearby municipalities and he had ousted one of the council members from her long-time post there. He claimed she was now attacking him in vengeance, and that he had falsely accused him of having a "perverted" gay party using public funds. Both the council women denied the allegations and one even read her statement from the newspaper and declared she had never spoken against the gay community or used any slanderous words. To which the Organizer responded with screams and insults. He didn’t come out looking too good. And I felt completely used. Right before the whole thing ended, the co-organizer declared that the march had had absolutely no political motive, that it was purely to bolster gay rights in the city. My Germy-mind went to work: "Ok, they bring a completely ambiguous proposal to City Hall but manage to attack some people in a very direct, non-ambiguous way, in retaliation for a personal feud that has been brewing for a good while." What would you think?... yeah, I thought the exact same thing. I left feeling pretty used. And not in a good way. Good thing the foreigners left when they had the chance, this was much more political than any of us had imagined.

Even though it was quite disappointing towards the end, I felt the event actually was a positive experience. It was the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve seen the local Mexcian gay community come together for something. Mostly it’s just foreigners organizing stuff. I think this is a positive thing, and I hope the trend continues. Of couse it would have been nice to meet a good-looking civic-minded gay guy, but, oh well, t'was not to be (for now). In the future, I will inform myself better about which events I got to, though. Once bitten, twice shy.


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