a glimpse of the future

Kathryn Aegis (aegis@igc.apc.org)
Fri, 18 Apr 1997 20:35:45 +0000

Whenever I work at an event, I produce a piece of artwork to reflect
upon its significance, such as a tape or a photo montage. This time it
takes the form of an online vigniette. Feel free to forward it to


I have taken a brief trip into the future and been given the
opportunity to see how beautiful it will be. I have returned with a
renewed sense of hope and optimism for the path that can be taken by
humanity in its evolution.

My journey began this morning as I dressed for my expedition, pulling
on a pair of jeans and selecting an appropriate t-shirt ('If Gays and
Lesbians are given civil rights, everyone will want them'). Digging
through the pile of shoes in my closet, I found my combat boots, the pair
which survived hundred of hours of marching, chanting, patrolling,
holding the line. Those were more confrontational days, and at times I
had felt as battered as the worn leather that for nine years had pounded
asphalt, concrete, mud. As I bent to lace the eyelets, I smiled to
think that at the decrepit age of 32 I was coming out of retirement again
to lend experience to the kids, the youth, the ones who come after to
claim their own piece of respect. They weren't going to let me
enjoy that rocking chair just yet.

Despite the sunshine, an icy wind tore through my clothing as I
walked down to Dupont Circle. Would people show? But they were
already there, milling in anticipation, setting up booths, readying
the stage. No counterprotesters in sight. The police were relaxed
and chatty as I reviewed the day's schedule. Youth Pride was going to
happen. As the sun continued to warm, men and women of all ages
filtered into the circle. Some brought their dogs. Some dressed
in rainbow colors or printed t-shirts. Some wore vinyl with metallic
lipstick. The drag performers splashed vividly in hues of bright green
and purple, vamping and flirting their way through the crowd.

The hours blended into a series of sensual impressions. Jessica Xavier,
transgender activist extraordinaire, doing hotlicks on the electric
guitar. Two girls kissing for a photographer. A mod guy from the
Polyester Liberation Organization adjusting his tie. Sista Face
braving the chill in an evening gown to give it up to the crowd. A
nervous girl about to give her first speakout. Friends huddled
together on the grass. A dog wearing a backstage pass on his collar.

These were youth that had experienced taunts from schoolmates, physical
assaults, parental betrayal, drug addictions, the worst of treatment
from everyone, and they were not here to shake their fist. My
generation had pounded on the door until it opened a crack, now was
the time to offer a hand through it. Today was for saying to the world:
here I am, I exist, I love, I hope, I dream, I struggle. They had
created within this circle of grass a new world, one in which everyone
could express their individual beauty without restraint. It would only
last five hours, but each of them would carry the strength of this
experience, the knowledge that it could be done, into the larger world.
In the words of my friend Shelly, spoken by her lover Heidi:

There is no box that can hold me. There is no
category that defines me. I live outside the
oppressive binary society. I live in the margins
of the marginalized, because that is where I find
reality. That is where I find 3-dimensional thinking
that comprehends more than just X and Y. That is
where I find room enough to breathe.

(For information on the Youth Pride Alliance, which celebrates the
dignity of all young people as they discover their identity as gay,
lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or straight, visit their web site at