Shower Curtain Chronicles: October 2007

Shower Curtain Chronicles

Latex painted shower curtains make great, cheap, waterproof banners to display at demonstrations, over freeways or anyplace you want to take it to the anti-gay, anti-Constitution fascists. This blog will feature banners I've made over the years, commentary on the outrages du jour, general observations and accounts of the latest actions by our blog troop as we wield the bathroom accessory cum political billboard.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Can Anyone Identify This Ass?

Wednesday was my last day in Washington so I wanted to get a souvenir protest picture. The hunger striker and the presidential candidate guy were there so I went over and asked if one of them would take my picture. The presidential candidate volunteered and after I was in position he asked if I wanted to wait for a Republican Congressman to go by. I laughed and told him that might take awhile. Then just as he was about to take the picture, the ass pictured here walks by and says, "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, buddy." The presidential candidate guy says to the Republican, "Hey, let me take your picture!" but the ass kept walking. I asked presidential candidate guy if he got a picture. He said loudly, "Yeah, running away!," chiding the hit and run bigot. Well, I know who I'm voting name would be helpful.

That's the presidential candidate guy giving the peace sign, the hunger striker to the right and the guy on the left, I don't know.

Me at the Cannon Office Building.

Duane and me in front of the Supreme Court, Sunday.

The three day protest brought far too many expressions of support to recount. The most frequent gesture was just a thumbs up but some said, "You're right," or "It's coming," or "I support you." I'd love to do it again.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wednesday's DC Protest

On Wednesday, this Congressman crept up the down side of the stairs as far away as he could get from me, looking straight ahead but casting a wary eye in my direction. It's another "wide stance" Republican, Rep. David Dreier of California who was outed by Mike Rogers of BlogActive some time ago. I can understand why this anti-gay closet case would want to avoid a gay person standing up for their rights...and his.
Later, a small group of young, identifiable lesbians passed by at the bottom of the stairs and were just giddy seeing my "GAY MARRIAGE THREATENS NOTHING" message. They signalled their appreciation and crossed the street, shoving each other.
A young man who was at the Capitol with a group of blue-blazered young people for some conference came up to have his picture taken behind the banner with me. He told me he is a socialist from Vermont and informed me that the push to upgrade civil unions to marriage there was looking very good. I told him that Duane and I lived in Vermont for a couple of years and so we shared some common Vermonter knowledge. He excitedly recounted his experience earlier in the day of shaking hands with his senators, Bernie Sanders (who is also a socialist) and Democrat, Patrick Leahy.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Tuesday's DC Protest

Tuesday, when I got to the Cannon Office Building terrace, there was a man wearing a sandwich board stating that he was on a hunger strike and asking that the Iraq war be stopped and that Iran not be bombed. The sign indicated that he had been on the hunger strike since October 1.
I unfurled the "GAY MARRIAGE THREATENS NOTHING" shower curtain at about 1:30 PM, and to my surprise, one of first people to pass by on the stairs was House Republican Leader, Rep. John Boehner (pronounced boner). He was engaged in conversation while hustling by with his entourage and didn't seem to notice the Constitution stuck to the bottom of his shoe.
Later, Michele Bachmann scrambled up the steps in a tailored, military tan pant suit that perfectly accentuated her freedom hating fascist, cover girl image. She was walking and chatting with two other people when I called out, "Congresswoman Bachmann!" She didn't respond but a man that was with her looked over and smiled. Whatever. I tried again,"Michele!" She glanced over and I chirped, "Hi, remember me?" She said, "I do remember you," as she stopped and turned, grimacing. That was enough. We both turned and went back to business. I should have yelled at her until she got in the building, just for old times sake but the Capitol Police had been pretty cool at this location so far and I really didn't want to be tasered.
Before I rolled up the banner and crossed the street to the Longworth Building where I was to meet with my congressman, Keith Ellison, a woman stopped on the stairs and said, "I've been with my wife for two years. Thanks for doing this."
When I got to Ellison's office, he wasn't there but I noticed him on the office television, masterfully giving hell to an errant federal prosecutor testifying at the "Jena Six" hearing. Since Ellison was at the hearing, that was then winding up, and would not be able to come to the office, the receptionist took me down to the hearing room where I would meet Ellison and walk with him to the Capitol building making my argument against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act version that excludes transgender people and gender expression. I wasn't expecting to be treated with such importance and really started to feel some performance anxiety. The Congressman greeted me in the hearing room and after a brief stop in the hall for a big hug from Rev. Al Sharpton (for Ellison) we walked and talked our way to the Capitol. Ellison's position was that he would vote for the bad version of the Act if it came to the floor because he could not vote against a bill that would do some good, but that he would make every effort to make the bill inclusive before its passage. Can't ask for more than that.
After leaving Congressman Ellison, I went back to the terrace for another hour of protesting before heading to hotel to meet Duane and recount the day's events.


Monday's DC Protest

On Monday, while in Washington I called my Congressman's office to make an appointment to meet with him about the pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act. After lining up a meeting time for Tuesday, I explained to the staff person that I frequently protest at the Capitol in Minnesota and that I'm unfamiliar with the U.S. Capitol but would like to find a good place to stand and display a banner. She put me on hold for a minute to check with other staff and then told me of a terrace in front of the Cannon Office Building, right next to the building their office is in, and in view of the Capitol. She said it's commonly used by protesters. I thanked her, hopped the Metro to the Capitol with shower curtain in hand and found that the location she suggested was a perfect spot that faced an intersection providing a confluence of congressmen and women transferring between the Capitol building and the congressional office buildings.
As I arrived, there was a protester already there holding a sign saying something about Cheney trying to nuke Iran, but there was plenty of room for me. I greeted him and he must have noticed my rainbow pin because he immediately started talking about Bush being a homosexual. I told him that I'm gay and that I heard the rumors about Bush too. He then told me that he's running for president and handed me a narrow strip of paper with his website on it, which I soon lost. I found a spot on the other side of the stairs and unfurled the "GAY MARRIAGE THREATENS NOTHING" banner.
I was only there for forty minutes the first day because I had to get back to the hotel to meet Duane after his seminar, but the reception was positive. Some people passing by expressed their agreement with my message while others thanked me for being there. By the time I left for the day, my insecurity about being in this new setting had vanished and I looked forward to returning the next day. I shook hands with the presidential candidate guy and wished him luck as I headed for the subway station.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blogging DC

I'm in Washington DC with Duane this week and a shower curtain seems to have gotten into my suitcase. Uh oh.
So far, we've been to the Capitol and the Supreme Court with the "GAY MARRIAGE THREATENS NOTHING" shower curtain. It's been a long time since that one's been out of the trunk. We had no trouble at the Capitol, but a little in front of the Supreme Court.
As it turns out, according to the Capitol Police, I wasn't supposed to unfurl my shower curtain while at the top of the first row of steps leading to the Supreme Court, however, the bottom of the steps was just fine. I complied with their wishes immediately. They really didn't seem to want us there at all though. They asked how long we would be there. I told them just long enough to get a picture. On Sunday morning there really wasn't anyone around anyway.

I was hoping to slip away before we wound up in Guantanamo but a young woman was filming with a video camera a few feet away and asked if she could film us holding the banner. Of course, we agreed and then we asked her to take our picture with our camera so we could both be in a shot. She was happy to oblige.
The woman, Kristin MacCary, a filmmaker from Vancouver Canada was making a documentary about the ignorance and arrogance of Americans, as perceived by Canadians, and about the failure of America's "representative" government to represent the people. She asked us if we would care to comment on film about these issues and, of course, we did. So much for escaping.
After several minutes of filming, we were done and then began filling out the release forms for the woman. Suddenly, the cops were around us asking for our names and addresses. I asked why they wanted them and they said it was because we were there protesting without a permit. So I asked, "so if you have three hundred people out here protesting, you go around and get everyone's name?" Well no, they said, but they would have the names through the organization that got the permit. Right. We told them our names anyway while we finished the release forms and gave them to the woman. Then I turned to the cops who were still hovering and said, "so that's it then?" They said, "we also need your date of birth, height, weight and eye color." I just looked at him, incredulously, then Duane said, disgustedly to the cops, "you don't need that!" He touched my arm and said, "come on." We walked away and didn't look back.
In hindsight, I wish we hadn't given them any information at all. We were doing nothing wrong and they had no business asking us for our names. If we had done anything wrong they wouldn't have let us just walk away. I'm pretty sure they bugged us because they didn't like what we were saying to the filmmaker's camera. Apparently, if you criticize the government in this country, it is now a police matter.