|Oh my god, they really are old!|
There were eight of us marching together at that point. Many were old friends from the seventies. Each one of us has different political views that include leftist activism, mainstream liberal Democratic politics and radical feminism to name a few. Three of us were holding signs. The rest were not. I was wearing a t-shirt from the 2004 Dyke March that read, "Uprooting Racism," with a creative graphic of a brown, tree-root woman holding the earth in her branches. I am 67 years old. Another seventy-something woman wore a Dyke March T-shirt from the year 2000. A younger woman was carrying a cane and wearing a t-shirt that read, "My favorite season is the fall of the patriarchy."
Two of our group carried signs they didn't like. Ironically, one sign said, "You Cannot Silence Us with Violence," and underneath that, "Stop Lesbian Erasure." I knew that was currently in the news and certainly didn't consider that sign "fighting words." That sign was torn up by the end of the march. Another sign about puberty blockers I knew was controversial in the medical community but I (wrongly) assumed that lesbians, like other members of society, have a right to differences of opinion, just as doctors and nurses do.
But these baby-faced gals couldn't figure out that we were all individuals, let alone old friends, or that free speech is still the law in this country. They descended screaming "TERFs go home!" and "Down With Trans-phobia," although no-one had spoken a word against transgender folks and most of us are progressive activists in various communities. It was strange coming from these females who certainly looked like cisgender girls barely pushing twenty-one. They all wore the smooth, impenetrable faces of pampered youth, strangers to adversity who, most often, live with their parents.
I tried to reason with them, explaining that falling for Trump's agenda of rabid hate is playing right into their hands. But their eyes were on fire, their bullhorn loud, their white faces contorted in a distinctly unattractive way. I was surrounded by flying hands and hula-skirt hair, you know, the kind that dances around heads in strands and is produced only by round follicles found on the heads of the master race. As they screamed their hatred at me, I politely informed them that I was Jewish, just in case they ran out of insults.
But for the likes of us activists, our crime was not trans-phobia. Our offense was obvious. You could see it in the sag of our lined faces, the soft outlines of our not-so-svelte bodies. We could not deny it. Every one of us was guilty, guilty, guilty of being old. Yes, that terrifying state that, if all goes well for these young tormentors, they would reach one day.
At that moment, my partner and I absconded to take a break in the shade. By the time we caught up with our contingent, mob mentality had set in. Two signs had been torn up and their bearers repeatedly knocked down. The whole group had procured a police escort to help them leave the march in safety.
We certainly have fallen a long way since the early, heady days of the lesbian movement. Elders' horror stories of being beaten, spit on, fired from jobs and refused all kinds of services simply for being lesbian or gay are clearly not of interest to many of this generation. Learning from history has become a concept discarded and forgotten. I suppose it's much easier to hate the people around you, folks to whom you have access, than to direct righteous anger toward the real enemy, the corrupt, fascist administration we live under, in other words, the powers that be.