August, 1978 Gav Austin
10Q000 wimmin march for ERA
By AMME HOGAH
From across the nation we descended upon
Washington, D.C.; Sunday, July 9, the day
before Congress vas to meet. Many vimmin
would be staying on for lobbying efforts.
But on Sunday few of us were thinking of
lobbying. We were too busy being amazed at
the power of 100,000 wimmin, gathered together for the ERA.
I say wimmin generically, of course. Men
attended. On the bus I rode, the breakdown
of who-was-what went: three men -- one of
whom was straight, two non-lesbian wimmin,
ko dykes. On* womon was not yet out, but
neither was I at age 16. Certainly, she
got an education in wimmin caring for and
about each other; which is not to say anything particularly graphic occurred. Or
maybe I wasn't looking.
We rolled into Washington at an absurd hour
on Sunday morning, after about 36 hours in
transit. Staying at the Church of the Pilgrims, we renamed it."The Waylaid Pilgrims,"
and marched in to face our rickety bunk
beds. Some of us ran for the showers, where
we thought, "42 wimmin per one shower, three
men per one shower." And was that nice gay
man surprised to find several wimmin in the
men's room? Only a little; he stripped down
and showered just like a real dyke.
on the s
o the Ma
h the le
zed. A w
n and th
"Everyone from California is upset about it.
We're gay and we don't want to march behind
a sign that says 'dykes.'"
"Oh," we said. "You don't want us to carry
"Dykes shouldn't be before the ERA. Why,
you didn't even write out ERA. This is an
ERA march, not a dyke march."
You will immediately note the number of
politically incorrect things in thi3 dialogue. Besides the obvious exaggeration of
"everyone from California" being upset, notice the womon is gay, not lesbian, identified. Need I say more about the need for
wimmin to have a separate identity from
men? Perhaps the end of this episode vill
"You're gonna carry it anyway?" We nodded.
The gay womon jumped the womon who was
holding the sign. In the following flurry,
our sign was torn. The "gay" looked pleased
as tried to hurry away. Always slow, yours
truly was Just about ready to get involved
and somehow managed to trip on the womon.
No matter the slowness; our "gay" was
squarely whopped with a pocket instamatic
across the brow. She got angry again and
tried to jump me (and I'm not even a Dallas
dyke), but was led away by a huge Dallas
dyke doubling as a parade marshall.
Instincts tell me I was right. Suspecting
as I do that she was sent to see who-would-
respond-how, certainly I responded correctly. But a lingering doubt that she may
have meant what she said , makes my mental
picture of how funny we must have looked go
A few minutes passed as we stared in dismay
at our sign, now in two parts. A womon from
Georgia came up and offered a couple of <
Band-Aids. Immediately, the little stickiee
appeared from everywhere, and our sign went
in the parade with us.
The line of wimmin stretched from the Capitol down Constitution Avenue, back to the
Washington Monument and halfway up the Mall.
The wimmin at the front of the march could
be seen arriving at the Capitol before we
started moving. That's almost two miles of
We marched inrows of 2k across (or is that
abreast?); chanted up Constitution Avenue;
cheered the wimmin speaking at the Capitol.
Media reports on numbers varied, but with
2k across no estimate should have been as
low as 50,000 (reported in the Statesman).
They had only to count rows. Most of the
(male) reporters did not want to believe
that 100,000 wimmin would leave jobs,
homes and travel long distances to march
for the ERA. You better believe it.
And when the speakers, to a womon, told of
our disenchantment with this system, with
this society which will not allow vimmin to
be human — the wimmin spoke of revolution,
and the wimmin who were listening agreed.
Congress better listen.
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