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.
Labels: Washington DC