It seems almost impossible but we are now at the end of another month: April, 2019. I’m losing my understanding of just how long a month lasts. In my mind, it feels as though the Spring season has just begun and now, all of a sudden, the entire month of April has transpired. It also means that my school year – and work year – has almost finished.
Spring is my second favorite season of the year, so please don’t interpret my observation as being one of impatience. It’s just that as boring and long as the winter appears, I would hope the extreme duration would remain for both the springtime and summertime! I would gladly appreciate the prolonged days during both seasons! The extra time would more than counterbalance the immense boredom of winter.
I began drafting this post last Thursday, April 25, 2019. As our Easter was then the upcoming weekend, I wanted to get as much accomplished as possible. Sunday, the actual Feast Day, Aaron and I were traveling to my identical twin brother’s home, a two-hour drive one way from our home, to eat our Easter feast with my brother and his partner. A completely bare meal that we all enjoy jointly every year!
If this posting was to be completed and published on time, I needed to compose as much as I could before the approaching holiday. Otherwise, it might not ever get done!
That morning, after beginning to write, I read some in our local newspaper while eating breakfast. A section piece of the page I was viewing entitled “Today’s Date In History” caught my attention and as I looked at events that occurred on this date, April 25, I paused briefly on “April 25, 1993.” I was immediately reminded that on this date in that year, this country’s largest (at that time) gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) March on Washington had happened. That information made me remember my presence and participation in that historic gathering.
Those same recollections caused me to set aside my original draft for this post. I can use those thoughts at another time. Instead, I began composing this perspective for ReNude Pride, now twenty-six years later.
Above is the logo that was used to both promote the event and to identify the purpose for many of the tourists in Washington, D.C., USA, who were clueless as to what the March on Washington represented. The logo’s key phrase, A Simple Matter of Justice, summed-up the spirit and the goal of the gathering in a very concise manner.
As most of us same gender loving people living in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, I was aware of the March on Washington coming here and made tentative plans to attend. April is a very weather-fickle month so I kept my schedule tentative so that I could remain free if the temperatures outside were too cold or the actual weather too inclimate.
The week leading to the planned March on Washington gave us beautiful weather with quite moderate temperatures outside. The projected forecasts in weather for the day itself were truly fantastic so I immediately confirmed my intention to participate in this historic occasion. I viewed this as perhaps a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity and by mid-week had Alex, my identical twin brother, and his current boyfriend staying in my apartment with me.
Throughout the week before, many of the local news media featured articles informing readership that many of the hotels were filling to their maximum capacity with guests for the upcoming weekend. The understated reason for this increase in guests was now being attributed to the GLBTQ community’s March on Washington activity. Prior to this, there had been very little newsprint mention of the event and the media newscasts were primarily focused on the predicted traffic concerns as scores of roads were being closed due to the proposed march.
The Saturday evening prior to the occasion, I had invited friends over to my apartment in order for them to meet my Twin and his boyfriend. This was a gathering strictly for fellow bare practitioners and those who weren’t uncomfortable being among others who were clothes-free. As there were no concessions made for the actual march to include naturists/nudists, I saw this as an opportunity for us to gather together and enjoy ourselves without the hassles of clothing. This gathering permitted us all a chance to get acquainted before we marched the following day.
Thanks to the help of my Twin and his partner, the social was a success. The majority of the conversation and interactions during the evening was, of course, focused on the upcoming GLBTQ schedule and where we could all conveniently meet. Almost everyone was planning to take the subway into the District of Columbia as parking and traffic was going to be very tight. All that day, news reports estimated the expected crowd to be in the neighborhood of almost a quarter-million marchers. All of us were very excited and eager for the reality!
Sunday, April 25, 1993, was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky. Alex, his boyfriend and I left my apartment early and walked to the Ballston Metro Station and boarded the subway – Orange Line – to meet our friends and fellow March on Washington participants downtown. Despite our early departure, the subway was crowded with few, if any, seats available. By the time we reached our destination, the gathering marchers were already overwhelming!
We had little problems locating “our” pack (mostly my friends) and we were all encouraged by the numbers of GLBTQ brothers and sisters surrounding us. Because of our diverse backgrounds, we were not marching as part of any particular organization or state delegation. We soon identified our “official” marching site under the title of “Other” and proceeded to get into line.
The march material contained announcements that American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters would be available throughout the route and at each of the organizing sites. Unfortunately, the demand was greater than the number of interpreters available, the day became one of simply do the best that you can with whatever resources are accessible.
The 1993 March on Washington officially began on time. However, the exceptional attendance of marchers, spectators and the clueless public made the entire event difficult to monitor and to logistically manage. We waited in our assigned area for almost two solid hours and received no instruction on movement. Local law enforcement personnel often stopped by and offered hand signals and then hastily moved away.
Finally, after waiting for what felt like an eternity, an ASL interpreter appeared and she quickly used a milk carton for an elevated platform and received our attention. She made the announcement that the march was underway but seriously backlogged and was moving at a snail’s pace. She encouraged us to use patience and to remember to be respectful of one another. Out of the fifty United States delegations, only four states had been able to successfully start off.
Following this announcement, our group huddled in as closely as possible and immediately began frantically signing to one another. Shortly, my identical Twin, Alex, got everyone’s attention and assumed some type of leadership. He encouraged us to leave our assembly point and join the slow-moving march on our own. It didn’t take long for the rest of us to agree with his suggestion.
We traipsed off and headed to the starting area. Only as we progressed did we notice the increasing throngs of others around us. Evidently, we weren’t the only ones with this same goal. Fortunately for us, we weren’t that large of a group and we were able to work ourselves closer to the commencement site and we soon joined the growing mass of marchers treading through the nation’s capital streets for our rights of equality and justice.
Slowly, we made our way along the approved route. It was an experience we would have for the remainder of our lives. The sheer numbers alone drew the attention of the media and for days afterwards, the national news media featured us all on their nightly broadcasts. Finally, the GLBTQ struggle for justice dominated the nation!