We didn’t attend the Women’s March in Indianapolis last Saturday, although we had every intention of attending when we woke up that day. An unfortunate emergency home repair found my wife, Carli, in the crawl space for several hours instead. She can fix anything!
Attending the march would have been a challenge for us; neither of us are fond of large crowds, but we wanted to do this for all the reasons anyone else wanted to march. Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, underrepresented minority rights, basically ALL human and civil rights are legitimately being threatened by an administration we do not understand.
Living in Indiana we are acutely aware of what Vice President Pence believes and we’re frankly terrified of what might come in the next four years. However, we decided early on that we would not let this fear overwhelm us or drive Carli back in the closet. She is truly, deeply content for the first time in her life. No one is going to take that away from her, or me!
We started to feel guilty about not attending the march, but it occurred to us that perhaps we might have been just two more faces in a crowd of friendly, like-minded individuals. Was this going to do anything more than make a statement that might resonant for a couple of weeks and then be replaced in the media by the next argument over policies, legislation, or poorly worded tweets by the Commander in Chief? While we truly want to be part of the wave of social change, perhaps there was a way we could do this that would touch people other than the friendlies we would have mingled with at the march. They already know us and our community after all, maybe this is equivalent to preaching to the choir. We don’t care to have our faces on tv, we aren’t very creative when it comes to making signs, and megaphones are terrifying. So, what did we do?
We went to a food festival, of course! We spent 4 hours strolling from booth to booth, most of them staffed with people from right here in uber-conservative Trump/Pence loving Indiana. There were “make America great again” hats on several heads. I wore my safety pin and #i’llgowithyou pin. We tasted everything from rhubarb liqueur to gin, cherry chili beef jerky to corn chowder. We sat with a mother and her teenage son who were enjoying brownies and gumbo. We learned how tequila is made and were amused by the elderly couple who were sneaking extra little tastes during the demonstration. We chatted with dozens of people who may or may not have interacted with a transgender person before in their lives, that they are aware of at least. Not once did Carli get misgendered. Yes, there were some sideways looks thrown around and we really have no way of knowing if people guessed Carli is trans or not, but chances are pretty good that a 51-year-old trans woman who is in early transition is fairly easy to spot yet. Overall, we were treated with civility and courtesy. And we had a marvelous time! Every person we interacted with is another person who may have left that day thinking that trans people are A-okay. They aren’t freaks of nature, or fanatics, and they can have spouses who love them more than life itself, the way I love Carli.
My question then becomes, how many people does it take for it to be a march? 500,000 in Washington, D.C. or 30 in Antarctica or 2 at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis? Carli and I were kept from participating in the organized march but did we all accomplish something important, something with the potential to change the world even if it’s just one person at a time
? I like to think we did.