Log in

No account? Create an account
Post-Protest Report - The Desian Universe
Links Home / GitHub January 2017
Tue, Nov. 9th, 2004 11:50 pm
Post-Protest Report

[Please take the time to read this through. It is important to me that you understand my thoughts/feelings here.]


That went ... absolutely perfect. It went as well as I possibly could have hoped. At 5 PM the organizers stepped up front and everyone gathered around. I was really surprised at how many people there were. I thought there would be quite a few, but the lawn was covered with them. (I shot a couple more pics before it started, which I will add to the other gallery later.)

At the very beginning, when everybody started gathering around and the organizers had just started their speech, I saw two boys who met, standing in front of poeticnerd. They wrapped their arms around each other's shoulders and briefly kissed. It wasn't a big thing at all; they didn't treat it as anything out of the ordinary, but for me, personally, that was the most powerful and moving moment of the whole evening. Two boys who love each other could and did express that love openly. It made me happy, because it solidified for me the fact that GLBT people really do exist at Cal Poly.

Generally, everyone was respectful; there were a few things that I considered borderline, but those people backed off very quickly. The anti-gay-marriage people were given plenty of opportunity to speak; none of them did while I was there. (I don't even know if any of them showed up.) The pro-gay-marriage people bent over backwards to make sure the opposition felt they would be respected if they chose to speak.

The organizers got it right. Most of the discussion centered around the difference between holding an opinion and expressing it in a way that makes people feel unsafe, threatened, outcast or otherwise discriminated against. They made it very clear that we respect others' right to an opinion, even if we personally find that opinion offensive. Almost everyone who spoke (including the one woman who chose to play devil's advocate) was down to earth, respectful and open-minded.

There was only one point during the whole presentation where I was worried that things were headed downhill. Someone picked up the dog cutout and brought it up to the front. He asked for one of the people who had created the display to come up, retrieve the dog and put it where he/she thought it belonged. Everyone seemed a little uncomfortable with that, because it was almost a challenge: come up here and recant, or we'll mock and ridicule you. I don't remember exactly how that one was defused, but it was defused quickly and smoothly.

Except for the dog incident, this is the way a protest should be run. It wasn't really a protest, per se, it was a respectful statement of our opinion, and an invitation for public dialogue.


I dragged poeticnerd out for dinner after my class tonight. I needed to decompress a bit. We really need to do that more often.


I had a lot of personal feelings about the whole thing: anxiety, depression, loneliness, happiness, ... I can't quantify them all. They were all very intense, and I was glad poeticnerd and caitsonion were there; I don't think either of you know just how much I needed those hugs. :)

I was anxious and nervous because this is something very personally important to me. I don't know if I'll eventually end up with a boy, or a girl (or maybe both/neither ;P). But I do know that I want to have the option of committing to them in a civil union (or marriage, or whatever you want to call it), regardless of their gender.

I was also anxious because this is the first time I've ever done anything publicly at Cal Poly to express such a strong opinion against the prevailing notions, especially on something as deep and personal to me as this. Cal Poly tends to be a pretty homophobic campus ... the queers tend to camouflage themselves, and with the straight people, you just don't know how they feel about the whole thing.

I was happy because ... well, you should know why I'm happy. :) So many people showed up and voiced their support, and there was such a strong sense of community there ... it makes me very glad to know that Poly students (who have a horrible reputation for being apathetic) are capable of feeling this strongly, and of bonding this strongly.

I was lonely/depressed because even though I had my friends there with me, I realize that this is a way in which I have utterly failed to connect with this campus until now. When it comes to sexuality (and religion and politics, to a lesser extent), I have always--well, since I started questioning myself--felt very disenfranchised here. I have felt very isolated and alone, and it really doesn't have to be that way.

I really wish I hadn't had to leave the protest early for class (though poeticnerd tells me she went back shortly after and it had already broken up). I wish I had gotten a chance to talk to some of those present. But perhaps ...


There is a GLBU meeting tomorrow.

Since the beginning of the school year, I've been wrestling with myself, trying to convince myself I should go. I've been (probably irrationally) afraid. I've been largely afraid of people asking me questions about myself I'm not ready to answer yet (at least, not to total strangers). I've been afraid that I will find little more than a meat market, instead of the connections, identification and friendships I'm looking for. And I'm suffering from the usual anxiety I suffer from whenever I contemplate new social situations.

All that said, I'm going to go tomorrow. caitsonion and I agreed that we're going to meet just beforehand, and go in there just to see what's going on and if it looks like something interesting. That way neither of us will feel (as) uncomfortable going alone. ;P

I'm still afraid, but this is something I need to do, for myself. I have hit the point in my life where I can't afford to be apathetic anymore.

-- Des

[I know, I haven't gotten around to formatting the pictures yet. I won't tonight, either. Sorry.

Update: O_o I can't believe I forgot to mention the kissing boys ...

Current Mood: lonely lonely


Ginger Attack
Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 01:49 am (UTC)

im glad you told me about the protest... im really glad i went too =)

also, im really excited for the GLBU meeting tomorrow! i never thought i would be going to one... but after today im really curious to see what its like. thanks for giving me an excuse to go haha. fairwell, goodnight, and au revoir!

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 12:56 pm (UTC)

I'm glad you came.

And I'm sure you could go to the meeting without an excuse ... they'd probably love it if you did.

ReplyThread Parent
Elocin Oco
Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 04:59 am (UTC)

Des-love, it sounds like you're really coming into your own! I'm glad to hear it. And I'm positively beaming with pride that you're finally going to the GLBU meeting. *kiss* *hugs* *does happy dance*

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 01:06 pm (UTC)

I'm working on it, slowly but surely ... That's a post all by itself, heh.

I've been tempted at least 3 times today to call Caitlin and be like, "um, I don't want to go tonight ...". But dammit, I'm going. I can't let my self-doubt get in the way of exploring these things (my mother was right about one thing, hah).

I just now noticed an interesting change in my self-doubt; a change that's been there for a while, but I never consciously recognized it ... I'll have to post about it later.

ReplyThread Parent
Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 08:46 am (UTC)

You're experiencing college. That's all I have to say about this, but it's important to understand the importance of those three words. Most people get to do college once, for maybe 3-5 years. Many of them don't begin to get what it's all about until they've been there a while -- that was the case for me and looks like it is for you. Nothing wrong with that, but now that you're there, dive in. Easier said than done, I know; and you'll probably get burned a little, and you'll get discouraged sometimes; but the only way out is through, and the only way to live fully is to be open to all the opportunities there are.

GLBU and stuff like it are opportunities. It's hard to approach them with the best attitude sometimes, but you're doing well there: go in with a positive attitude, see if it's for you, embrace the parts that are, reject the parts that aren't.

Above all, be yourself. Common advice, uncommonly taken. It will get you exactly where you need to be and keep you there.

Much love.

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 01:17 pm (UTC)

Now if only I could get my parents to understand that ... :p

I actually DO pay attention to what they say (though I've been doing so less and less as the years go by) ... and what they say, consistently, is "Academics are more important than experiencing the clubs and people and whatnot. Academics should be your top priority."

I reject their statement as a matter of principle. Academics may be more important in the societal context of finding a job, making a living, etc., but they are almost irrelevant to me as a person. And I think right now, I have a LOT more growing to do personally than I do academically. (Not to imply academics should be set aside, but beyond a certain minimum level, I consider personal development to be more important.)

...wow, I guess that was a bit of a tangent.

Anyway, you're right. And I (finally) know what I need to do. The hard part is going to be doing it ... ;)

ReplyThread Parent
Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 11:10 am (UTC)

I'm so glad you had the courage to go to this event. Fear is just a passing emotion, you recognized this and did something good for yourself despite being afraid. And it paid off. I'm only just now learning this important life lesson. I'm really happy for you that you are catching on to it so much sooner.

I remember the first time I saw two boys kiss in public, quite casually as if it were something that was perfectly normal and accepted (which it is and should be). It was in downtown Seattle a few years ago. One boy dropped off his boyfriend outside a restaurant where he was about to go in to work. They parted with a quick, but obviously very endearing kiss. This did not happen in a "gay" ghetto, but right out in downtown. It was very empowering to witness. I felt like maybe I really was just as normal as anyone else. I don't think I'd ever given myself the freedom to think that I had any right to my own sexuality before.

But, hey! it's not like yesterday was the first time you've seen boys kiss in person. I remember one time when K was around and you were visiting at my apartment ... :-P

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 01:23 pm (UTC)

I'm so glad you had the courage to go to this event.

So am I. Although you should have seen me beforehand, I was horrible ... pacing, going over my backpack 5 times to make sure I had all my school stuff, making sure I knew where my camera was, not-eating (but instead throwing granola bars into my backpack which I didn't eat till after ;P), ...

I don't think I'd ever given myself the freedom to think that I had any right to my own sexuality before.

That's an interesting way of putting it. I wonder if that might be part of why I am continuing to self-doubt. I'll have to think about it more.

But, hey! it's not like yesterday was the first time you've seen boys kiss in person. I remember one time when K was around and you were visiting at my apartment ... :-P

*giggles* I seem to recall there was a LOT of kissing going on between you two that weekend ... ;)

ReplyThread Parent
Thu, Nov. 11th, 2004 12:58 am (UTC)

Wouldn't it be cool if people got together and eventually married, first meeting each other at that rally?

As far as being afraid of what people will think of you (and, I'm not going to assume it's on the same level, but from my experience of being very religiously different from the average Cal Poly student), I basically don't care. If people disagree with me, that's fine. Just be civil and calm, talk about it. You might find they tend to give really shitty reasoning, and you can tell even they realize it after they try to explain themselves.

And, again, maybe this approach won't work, but I just try to have a mental brick wall around my confidence when I know I might be getting into an adverse situation. It helps that people might be physically intimidated by me to the point where they wouldn't try hurting me, but I don't really know that on a conscious level. I feel scrawny, as weird as that sounds.

Basically, understand with what amount of confidence you hold each of your beliefs, and treat them accordingly. If you're sure of one, feel free to voice it when asked and have reasons to back it up. For the ones you can't rationalize so much, just admit that and be willing to change them to anything that seems more reasonable. That way you won't meet resistance where it isn't do, and won't back down where it's worth defending.

Done rambling. :)

Fri, Nov. 12th, 2004 01:28 am (UTC)
an aside...

as an aside (just noodling here)...

you said:
The pro-gay-marriage people bent over backwards to make sure the opposition felt they would be respected if they chose to speak.

In my experience, those people who have carefully selected their opinion from among the options are more apt to make sure that all voices are heard. They understand that to fail to hear all opinions will possibly result in an errant choice being made. Whereas those who have their choice made for them tend to be tyrranically dogmatic, suppressing as many opinions as possible until they think only theirs remains.

One instance comes to mind: Marilyn Manson on 'Politically Incorrect". He was cool, calm, and collected, sharing his views with polite candor. The religious person was getting mightily affronted and belligerent, talking louder and being ruder as the argument wore on.

Or perhaps, the person who chooses their viewpoint is unafraid that their view will be undermined by another, because they are willing to see new viewpoints as chances to re-evaluate their beliefs, changing them as necessary. That is, constantly thinking about their view so that it meshes most closely with what they logically and emotionally believe. On the other hand, the person who has been forcefed dogma would be shattered to know that their viewpoint isn't necessarily correct -- or even the only one. They feel they must repress all other viewpoints for fear of this thing called "thinking" where they might realize that their current viewpoint isn't up to snuff...

All hail cognitive dissonance!

I don't know, just something i started kicking around when i read this. Thank you for reporting. I was meaning to make it, see how things turned out, but somehow failed to...

nuf evah,