Friday, December 4, 2009

Why I Love New York Tonight

Posted by Beau RN

I missed last night’s spontaneous rally at Times Square after the defeat of the Marriage Equality bill by the NY State Senate yesterday afternoon. When I heard more than a thousand people showed up to voice their outrage over the defeat my first thought was, “I’m not sure counting unaware tourists trying to get their theater groove on at TKTS necessarily constitutes a pro-gay marriage stance or organized outrage at the New York State Senate.” But whatever, I let it go.

I specifically wanted to make the NY Marriage Equality candlelight vigil tonight in Union Square because I missed last night‘s rally so I set out on the downtown 6 train from Harlem, anticipating wandering into a seething, undulating mass of righteously outraged LGBTer’s and their allies. My first tweet when I got up to the rally was, “Oh I see we’re on Gay Time” because ten minutes before the posted start of the event there were very few actual people other than those setting up around the platform and speaker. I started sweating and worrying that I missed a cancellation notice and end up milling about, tapping on my phone, trying not to look conspicuous until enough people pushed forward to make something of a small, angry mob.

My second tweet after the break....

My second tweet after the rally kicked off and people started showing up was, “Glad I didn’t bring my righteous outrage candle” since the “bring a candle or flashlight” part of the candlelight vigil got interpreted as “bring big, tall signs”. Of course the big, tall sign-carrying crowd by virtue of their relative timeliness put them at the very front of the push, effectively creating a wall I couldn’t see around at first but I understand these are the risks at these kinds of rallies and so I kept my snark on the DL.
One of my favorite signs, by virtue of its short, sweet, direct style simply said “Fuck You, Assholes” which pretty much summed up my own bitterness towards the 38 senators who voted against the gay marriage bill. I don’t have the balls to carry that kind of signage because I’m an introvert and I tend to use my inside voice with that kind of sentiment but I appreciated the boisterous, blistering fortitude of the carrier. Other signs threatened those senators with election-day revenge and promises of remembering their voting stink but I have my own cynical beliefs about the length and breadth of our collective memories when Election Day comes around.

OK, true confession: my second tweet was actually, “Oh good…hot, bearded priest spotted”. I don’t want to seem completely shallow but since I am and I have a Twitter account, I’ll cop to it. To be honest, I often feel like any gathering of The Gayz has a certain cruisey energy which I’m thankful for. I’ll take my dose of angry and sad and upset as long as I can have a side of some furtive glances and an occasionally-reciprocated smile. It all gets mixed into one big bowl of “Yes, please” for me and this is what makes New York City so special and exciting and I think what keeps drawing people here. I liked standing at the rally listening to smart, impassioned people talk and rail and encourage hope for the future and then start wondering where everyone was going for after-rally drinks. For me, it was a question about how to keep the energy going, how to ride the flow a little bit further into the evening and stay connected.

I love New York City for this reason. I love it a little bit more now that I’ve spent the last six months working during the week elsewhere. It is a pleasure to come back from a place without a visible gay community of any kind to a vibrant, alive, diverse community of people from all walks of life who are leading very busy, wonderful, tough lives and soaking up everything New York has to offer. It was great leaving the rally tonight and watching the groups of people mill about, breaking off for the theater or dinner or elsewhere. For me, I decided I wasn’t ready to head back up to Harlem and ended up at Gym Bar in Chelsea where I unintentionally bumped into a friend who has a weekend place close to mine. He was there to catch the Bills/Jets game and I thought again how a little atypical football-watching gay jock flavor makes for a perfect cap to a weird, great evening, all in the span of a few hours on a typical Thursday night in New York City.


  1. That really is New York. It's the "on any Thursday" factor. Or as Daisy Buchanan said in Gatsby, the feeling that while you are walking down the street all sorts of strange fruit might fall into your hands.

    "Hot bearded priest"? Spill.

  2. His collar caught my eye and I was all, "Thornbirds!" then after I thought about it, I figured he was Anglican. Oh well.