I first marched in a Pride Day Parade in Hollywood, 1974. It was called The Christopher Street West Pride Parade in those days.
In 1972, Gay Pride had coincided with me getting SRS and in 1973, I had just gotten my nose and chin worked on.
In 1974, I was in LA. I had started doing photography and was documenting the lives of some of my transsexual and transgender girl friends.
I had come out as bisexual/lesbian and I found myself in the Shane like (The L-Word) position of being all these girl’s lesbian experience.
I had partied the night before with one of my transgender friends and a straight couple who were involved with the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party). In the interests of promoting greater understanding of LGBT/T people he slept with my friend and I slept with his wife.
The next day we went to the parade. I could feel the distance forming between some of my transgender sisters and myself. When I had moved to LA I had rented an apartment near Sunset and Fairfax and not in the area where they lived and worked.
I partied at Rodney Bingenheimers, Starwood, The Whiskey, the Roxy and upstairs at the Rainbow. I only occasionally went to the one remaining trannie bar, Dupars up on Ivar north of Hollywood Blvd.
But I was into the spirit of the day.
The parade in those days was far less commercial and far more political.
All the West Coast Movement leaders were there. Troy Perry, Morris Kight, Harry Hay and Jim Kepner.
I was recognized from some of the conferences I had attended and I believe it was Jim asked me to say a few words since I had co-run the NTCU and he knew me. I said I din’t know what to say.
Damian, husband of the RCP couple said I should say something about how all the bars were segregated and how they wouldn’t let transsexuals and queens in to gay bars. I said something about them not letting black guys in either without demanding the same 3 or 4 pieces of ID.
I got up on the platform, took the mike and said, “It’s really beautiful to see us all here today. Gay men, lesbians, trannies, black, brown, white. All marching together, all gathered here together. It make’s me really happy.
But I know when Gay Day is over we will all go back to our own bars like this togetherness had never occurred. Trannies will still be excluded from the West Hollywood clubs and so will lesbians as well as blacks and Latinos.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day was like gay pride day and we could all party in the same places rather than all of us going our own separate ways.”
It may not have been the worlds best speech. I prepared it while waiting to speak but the sentiment was good.
Unfortunately we are still working on the getting along together part.