Wayne Anderson writes:
I almost didn’t go to the march in support of Kevin Aviance. I had been out late the night before and had convinced myself to stay home and have a lazy afternoon instead. But at the last minute I decided to hop in a cab and head downtown to 14th Street and First Avenue where the march was to start. And Im so glad I did – it was probably the best protest march/rally that I have been to in a long while. I arrived as Hedda Lettuce (a legendary NYC drag queen) was making announcements about the route the march was to take. Although there had been only a week to organize it and the temperature was in the 90s, there was still a surprising turnout of more than 500 people. Michael Lucas (the gay pornographer extraordinaire) was there and I got to march alongside him and Hedda Lettuce.
The marchers were great, really vocal. We walked down the streets screaming “What do we want? JUSTICE. When do we want it? NOW!” It reminded me of the young activist kid I used to be. And I felt that “community thing” again for the first time in a long time. About the middle of the march, the police (who I have to say were very professional and courteous for the most part) tried to divert the marchers off the middle of the street and onto the sidewalk. Hedda Lettuce (bless her heart), who was leading the march, said “Not today” and walked right past the cops and onto the street, with the entire crowd following her.
At the rally after the march, Kevin Aviance made a statement to the press (which had a considerable “pressence”) and the marchers. His jaw was still wired shut but with the aide of a bullhorn he slowly but deliberately spoke out against intolerance and thanked everyone for their support. Then his assistants handed him a gift-wrapped box that he said was his “gift to intolerance.” Inside was a red flashing stoplight, which, with his head slightly bowed, he raised into the air. It may sound a little overly staged, but it was a powerful moment. And the crowd roared its approval.
– Wayne Anderson