Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Gay Band at Inaugural, But Not Me

I'm really pleased that a marching band consisting of members of the various bands of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA) will be marching in Obama's Inaugural Parade, even though I won't be in it. I haven't been involved in the national association for many years, and I'm only a part-time member of my local band these days. If participation were open without a numeric limit and specific instrumentation slots, I would have seriously considered this despite the amazing logistical hurdles (of travel, for example -- it would have been impossible at this point to arrange to fly to DC and even the trains seem to be filling up). But as it is they had to organize a sort of first-login, first-served web rally and there was only one slot for bass drum I think. Even if I could have somehow managed to fill the bass drum slot (which I doubt), I would have been taking somebody else's place -- somebody currently more active in the bands, and somebody who did not have the opportunity to play with LGBA at both Clinton Inaugurals.

Yes, it's been a long time and it seems to have been lost to history, but Clinton's first Inauguration included the first openly lesbian and gay group participating. We did not march in the parade for either Inaugural -- we were a "route band" which means we set up along the parade route and played an outdoor concert all morning for the onlookers.

I wrote up my experiences at the 1993 Inauguration for the soc.motss newsgroup. This is my account of my feelings in advance:

And this is my account of the day itself, written on my return:

Some thoughts four years later, as I was preparing to fly to DC for the 1997 Inaugural:

Then my post-Inauguration writeup:

This time the band is actually marching in the parade, which means the carefully worded press releases get to claim it's the "first" time a gay and lesbian group has participated in this event. Of course by "this event" they mean the parade itself, and that's true and that's important, but being a route band was not in any way a lesser participation. I suspect that being part of the parade makes for television time.

I honestly feel that I've already had the opportunity to be part of something like this, and that I am well-represented by my fellow bandies. I feel as if I am with them, every step of the parade. There's a tiny little part of me, however, that ponders over the fact that what I do is play the bass drum on the march -- that's my skill and that's my role. Actually playing in this parade would have felt like a sort of lifetime culmination. But that's a fleeting thought, along the lines of "what if these three thousand things had been different." No, for the most part I am just happy as can be that an organization I still identify with and care about will be marching in the Inaugural. Representing me. Representing my community. Representing you.

I'll be home and warm and watching it all on tv, I suspect.
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